The Pink Panthers team certainly went the extra mile in the costume field.

Fun football day in a good cause

Twelve teams gathered at Blenheim’s A and P Park on Saturday for the annual Matt Neal Memorial Football tournament. Players came from far and wide to honour the memory of Matt, who died in 2016. The participants enjoyed a day of footballing fun, some resplendent in colourful costumes.  Photos: Peter Jones.



The Marlborough Maroons 12 grade boys’ side. Photo: Peter Jones.

Youngsters relish footballing feast

Hundreds of young footballers made Blenheim’s A and P Park their own at the weekend when the annual Gavin Roberts 12th grade boys South Island football tournament was staged.

The ever-popular event ran from Friday until Sunday, attracting 20 teams and scores of supporters who cheered vigorously from the sidelines as their favourites battled opposition from throughout the Mainland. Teams were based in colourful tents, bringing a festive, fun atmosphere to proceedings at the park.

One Marlborough team was in action. The Marlborough Maroons side, coached by Zeb Foote and Blair Speedy, gave a good account of themselves. During the preliminary rounds, they were unfortunate to be on the wrong side of three very-tight scorelines, relegating them to the bottom of their pool.

They lost 3-2 to Christchurch United, Halswell and FC Nelson, while also going down 5-2 to Ferrymead Bays.

In post-section play they quickly made up for their slow start, producing some well-structured attacking football. They downed South Canterbury Green 9-2, Hereweka Panthers 6-0 then accounting for Parklands 7-1 to claim 17th place in the event.

Marlborough’s Tyson Foote claimed the much-coveted Golden Boot award, scoring 11 goals during the three-day tournament and being voted his side’s MVP. Central Otago keeper Oskar Schiele took out the tournament Golden Glove award.

The overall winner was Central Otago, who defeated Nomads United 3-2, while FC Nelson beat St Albans 5-1 to clinch the third spot. Coastal Spirit won the Fair Play award.

The Gavin Roberts tournament, which originated in 1972, followed on from the 12th-grade girls’ tournament and the 12th-grade boys’ tier two event, both staged at A and P Park from September 29-October 1.

Thirty-eight teams were in town for the three tournaments, bringing an estimated 1400 visitors to the region.

The Marlborough 12th grade girls’ team were in action at A and P Park from Sunday until Tuesday. Photo: Supplied. 

Football tournaments bring influx of visitors

Three Blenheim-based junior football tournaments have attracted an influx of players and supporters to Marlborough.

Over the past few days Marlborough Football has hosted the 12th grade girls South Island tournament and the 12th Grade Boys Tier 2 tournament (a less competitive tournament to the Gavin Roberts Tier 1), at A&P Park. They began on Sunday and conclude today.

On Friday, the Gavin Roberts 12th grade boys South Island event will begin at Marlborough football headquarters. It runs until Sunday, October 6.

In total, 38 teams from out of town will be hosted in Marlborough across the three tournaments, meaning around 1400 visitors will be in town for four or more nights over the 10 days.

The Gavin Roberts tournament is a long-standing event. It originated in 1972 from discussions between three football administrators.

The gentlemen were Jimmy Lang of Blenheim, President of the Marlborough Junior Football Association, Gavin McPherson of Christchurch, a life member of Rangers club and vice president of the Canterbury Junior Football Association, plus Gavin Roberts of Christchurch, the secretary of the Canterbury Junior Football Association and a New Zealand Football Council Member.

The year 2008 saw a change to the format, the 12th grade girls tournament also coming under Marlborough Football’s wing, and being staged in conjunction with the boys event, prompting a move towards a 12th grade girls and boys festival.

The Marlborough 17th grade girls, back row from left, Freya Thompson, Mackenzie Adkins, Tessa Hyland, Erin Mustey, Lucy Martin, Eliza Bickerton, Hilary Stuart, Maggie Lane. Front: Ruby Wybourne, Riley Preece, Chanel Horton. Absent: Destiny Aires, Shanah-Lee Aires, Hannah Martin, Lea Poletti, Abby Owen. Photo: Supplied.
The Marlborough 17th grade girls, back row from left, Freya Thompson, Mackenzie Adkins, Tessa Hyland, Erin Mustey, Lucy Martin, Eliza Bickerton, Hilary Stuart, Maggie Lane. Front: Ruby Wybourne, Riley Preece, Chanel Horton. Absent: Destiny Aires, Shanah-Lee Aires, Hannah Martin, Lea Poletti, Abby Owen. Photo: Supplied.

Since then, in 2018 and 2019, Canterbury, Nelson and Otago have replaced their district rep teams with club-based rep teams, which has resulted in more team entries in the boys tournaments and a two tier tournament structure has been identified as a need, to create a more even playing field in the boys space.

Consequently, Marlborough are now running three tournaments, with the new 12th Grade Boys Tier 2 tournament running alongside the 12th Grade Girls and the Gavin Roberts 12th Grade Boys Tier 1 a few days later .

The three 12th grade Marlborough representative sides competing in these tournaments are:

12th Grade Girls: Piper Patrick, Alexi Johnston, Kaitlyn McKenzie, Grace Straker, Ruby Glackin, Lotti Flowerday, Issy Flowerday, Indiana Payne, Jaimie Elrick, Jemimiah O’Donnell, Maia Anderson, Leni Manson, Lilly Walkenhorst. Co-coaches: Andrea & Nicky Smith-Scott. Assistant Coach: Anna Straker.

12th Grade Whites Boys Tier 2: Lucas Neilson, Brooklyn Bartlett, Liam McIntyre, Ollie Eyles, Sherwin Somerville, Liam Newman, Tyrese Bristowe, Ted Small, Finn Brown, Hamish McLeod, Taylor Sutherland, Martyn Davis, Arana Lines. Coach: Paul Newman. Assistant Coach: Tony McIntyre. Manager: Hayley Foote

12th Grade Maroons Gavin Roberts Tier 1: Ethan Ryland, Nathan Brooke-Taylor, Caleb Speedy, Tyson Foote, Mason Hawkins, Cedric Meeten, William Baker, Jack Watts, Liam O’Connell, Lachlan MacNeill, Te Ariki Hook, Daniel Clarke. Coach: Zeb Foote. Assistant Coach: Blair Speedy. Manager: Hayley Foote

Away fixtures

As well as hosting three tournaments, Marlborough Football has also entered nine sides in various South Island age group tournaments.

One of these sides is the 17th grade girls’ rep team. For the first time since 2015, Marlborough will field a team in this division at the South Island junior tournament.

Player numbers have surged over the past four seasons, as girls who have been progressing through the junior grades for the past decade now become eligible for the highest grade of junior rep football.

The players have the advantage of many hours of game time together this season.  Most of the girls have played in the BV Bullets team which contested the Nelson division one league this season and in the Marlborough Girls’ College team which competed in the NZ secondary schools champs in Timaru.

Manager Mark Wybourne says the team brings a competitive, aggressive edge to their play, placing value on skill, fitness and teamwork while still retaining a fun vibe.

“Many of the girls are still only 15-16 so, with many promising younger footballers set to follow them into the team over the next couple of years, the prospects for girls’ football in Marlborough look exciting.”


Marlborough representative squads selected for various South Island age group tournaments. 

10th Grade Boys, Christchurch, Friday October 4-Sunday October 6: James Crowe, Cullum Raynor, William Barclay, Sam Grono, Hamish Newman, Riley Ponder, Ben Lindfield, Israel Reece, Conner Davies, James Parley. Coach: Scott Kennovin. Assistant Coaches: Daniel Diamond and Hamish Turner. Manager: Ann Lindfield

11th Grade Whites Boys Tier 2, Nelson, Sunday September 29- Tuesday October 1: Niko Manson, Dylan Mathieson, Logan Carrodus, Joe May, Jayden Davis, Anton Jossy, Alexander Neal, Josh Main, Sam Hayes, Archie Botham, Rhys Yockney, Simon Davis, Maddox McCaa. Coach : Mike Neal. Assistant Coach: Geoff Hayes. Manager: Kerry Neal.

11th Grade Maroons Boys Tier 2, Nelson, Sunday September 29-Tuesday October 1: Logan Stone, Leo Langley, Harry Wilkin, Teagan Birkett, Blake Pitts, Alex Hansen, Elijah O’Donnell, Laughlan Chambers, Charlie Pickens, Albert Nott, Sid Yank, Noah MacDonald, Hugo Escalle. Coach: Paul O’Donnell. Assistant Coach: Chris Nott. Manager: Daryl Stone

13th Grade Boys, Queenstown, Thursday October 10-Saturday October 12: Blake Fitzgerald, Ollie Kennedy, Louie Poletti, Tyler Black, Rico Chen, Tom Morrison, Axell Allan, Fynn Hawes, Ollie Hunter, Thomas Pitts, Max Benge, Luke Langley, Willem Hayton, Rory Thompson, Daniel O’Hagen, Jonty Gifford. Coach: Glen Morrison. Assistant Coach: Pere Hawes. Manager: Jo Pitts.

14th Grade Boys, Dunedin, Sunday September 29-Tuesday October 1: Hugh Straker, Oskar Meeten, Joseph Sandford-Jury, Mason Benge, Alex Piddington, Dylan Endersby, Fin Somerville-Smith, Oscar O’Brien, James Hansen, Finn Pickens, Angus McAllister, Charlie Wilkin, Nickolas Paixao, Sam Sherwood, Eli Wolfe, Luc Sherwood. Coach: Paul Finnegan. Assistant Coach: Bryce Smith. Manager: Richard Vercoe.

14th Grade Girls, Christchurch, Sunday October 6-Tuesday October 8: Jaimee Van Keulen, Holly Maltesen, Iris Nott, Tamara Wylie-Smith, Maddison Rowe, Kayla Parker, Lauren Sloan, Breanah Lavender, Ruby Columbus (Vice-Captain), Jaimee Randall, Lexi Timpson, Amelia Burrough, Jelaina Roubos, M’Kenzie Webb. Coach: Mike Columbus. Assistant Coach: Stew Sloan. Manager: Michelle Lavender.

15th Grade Boys, Timaru, Thursday October 3-Saturday October 5: Luca Geris, Aidan Flanagan, Joshua Clamp, Liam Clamp, Nikau Bell, Callum Hayton, Ethan Turner, Hunter Ruffell, Spencer Holmes, Dylan Guillemot, Boyd Elvy, Kane Elvy, Aaron Shi, Riley Gardiner, Zac Davis, Cody Stone. Coach: Alan Elvy. Assistant Coach: Andy Wheeler. Manager: Deb Ruffell.

17th Grade Boys, Timaru, Thursday October 3-Saturday October 5: Joshua Whittall, Bill Welbourn, Andrew Chapman, Aaron Powell, Oscar Sandford-Jury, Aidan Lavender, Callum McDonald, Jake Bezant, Logan Robb, Thomas Hall, Braden Jessop, Jesse Wilson, Hamish Timpson, Kyle Evans, Jay Geris, Hunter Dawson. Coach: Nigel Timpson. Manager: Sharon Hansen.

17th Grade Girls, Christchurch, Sunday October 6-Tuesday October 8: Maggie Lane, Destiny Aires, Shannah-Lee Aires, Mackenzie Adkins, Eliza Bickerton, Chanel Horton, Tessa Hyland, Hannah Martin, Lucy Martin, Erin Mustey, Abby Owen, Lea Poletti, Riley Preece, Hilary Stuart, Freya Thompson, Ruby Wybourne. Coach: Ian Thomas. Manager: Mark Wybourne.

Marlborough’s Tore Waechter rises for a header during Saturday’s match. Photo: Shuttersport.

Harris Cup goes west

Football’s Harris Cup will send the summer on the other side of the Whangamoas.

After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, played in Blenheim last weekend, FC Nelson stepped up on home turf to beat a Marlborough side 4-1 on Saturday, claiming honours in the resurrected provincial showdown.

In a joint effort between Marlborough Football and their Nelson counterparts the traditional fixture was rekindled this year, with a Marlborough Invitation XI taking on FC Nelson, winners of the 2019 Nelson division one competition.

The Harris Cup was last contested in a home-and-away series in 2008, when the trophy was claimed by Marlborough. In 2012 the first leg was played, but not the second, meaning the long-standing trophy, first contested in 1929, remained in Marlborough hands until Saturday.

At Saxton Field, Nelson opened the scoring through skipper Nick Crosswell inside 10 minutes but Marlborough responded immediately and began to achieve dominance, ensuring the scoreline stayed at 1-0 when the teams entered the halftime break.

On the resumption the visitors upped the ante but were unable to take advantage of the clear-cut chances they created.

FC, however, did just that and grabbed their second on the break midway through the spell. Down 2-0, Marlborough pushed forward in search of goals and were twice exposed at the back, the home side putting the game out of reach.

Marlborough manager Andrew McCaa said, “the boys played well but missed scoring opportunities cost us dearly in the end.”

Scores: FC Nelson 4 (Nick Crosswell, Labu Pan, Harrison McFadgen, Brandon Pirere) Marlborough Invitation XI 1 (Julian Delgado). HT: 1-0 FC Nelson

FC Nelson skipper Nick Crosswell, left, and Marlborough’s Shane Evans contest possession. Photo: Peter Jones.

Harris Cup football first leg match finishes in stalemate

Marlborough and Nelson each have a hand on the Harris Cup after the first leg of the provincial showdown was drawn 2-2 at A and P Park on Saturday.

In a joint effort between Marlborough Football and their Nelson counterparts the traditional fixture was resurrected this year, with a Marlborough Invitation XI taking on FC Nelson, winners of the 2019 Nelson division one competition.

The Harris Cup was last contested in a home-and-away series in 2008, when the trophy was claimed by Marlborough. In 2012 the first leg was played, but not the second, meaning the long-standing trophy, first contested in 1929, remains in Marlborough hands.

Their grip is slightly tenuous however, given Nelson will be playing on their home ground at Saxton Fields in Saturday’s return leg, but Marlborough will be better for their first run, having had little preparation time together.

Their lack of cohesion was exposed early in Saturday’s game, disorganisation at the back gifting FC Nelson a penalty after only two minutes. It was calmly converted by Brandon Pirere.

From that point, Marlborough began to find their feet, creating several scoring opportunities for hard-running front-men Adam Rose and MBC student Shinji Mikame.

However the visitor’s defence, superbly marshalled by skipper Nick Crosswell, held firm until the 12th minute when a Shane Evans corner from the left was crisply headed into goal by Rose.

The home side continued to dominate and looked the more likely side to score, missing a couple of gilt-edged chances, while keeper Nick Stanton pulled off an important save at the other end.

The scores were locked 1-1 at the break, but it was FC Nelson who came out of the sheds with more purpose, Pirere notching his second goal when he caught Marlborough on the break after 10 minutes.

Knowing they faced a possible trip to Nelson with a deficit to overcome, Marlborough threw everything into attack.

The introduction of Taine Swete in midfield alongside former Rangers FC team mate Tore Waechter saw a more intense battle for possession and the home side were rewarded when a long-range shot at goal struck a FC Nelson player’s hand and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Waechter stepped up and levelled the scores with a sweetly-struck shot.

In the final 10 minutes chances went begging at both ends, leaving both sides content to settle for a stalemate, which will be decided in four days’ time.

Impressive for the home side were midfielders Jordy Columbus, Waechter, Evans and Paddy Stephens, plus defenders Aaron Vercoe, Nick Rayner and Connor Endersby.

Nelson got good value up front from Pirere, Harrison McFadyen and Jamane Wilson-Duggan, plus at the back from Crosswell and experienced goalie Dean Hill.

Marlborough manager Andrew McCaa felt the result was a fair outcome, one he was relatively pleased with, especially given the home side’s lack of preparation compared with their rivals, who have played a full season together.

“I was really pleased with the guys, they put in a good shift. We got the team together late last week, had one training … it’s the first time they have played together and, for a couple of the guys it is their first run for the season.

“I’m really proud of the way they performed. We are looking forward to the trip away now.”

Scores: Marlborough Invitation XI 2 (Adam Rose, Tore Waechter, pen) FC Nelson 2 (Brandon Pirere 2). HT: 1-1

Anthony Michaels from the Blenheim Valley Cobras side fires a cross into the area during his side’s final against Call Care Trojans at A and P Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Football finals, awards wrap up senior season

The Marlborough senior club football season came to a close on Saturday with a series of Knockout finals, followed by a prizegiving evening.

In the Knockout Bowl decider, Cobras came out on top of a closely-fought encounter 2-0.

The Knockout Shield was won by Blenheim Valley Masters who made no race of it against Rangers Clubs of Marlborough, winning 8-2.

The third final, the Knockout Plate, was taken out by Central Buccaneers who overcame Trojans Spartans 5-1.

The Knockout Cup final was played under lights 11 days ago with Central Pirates taking the honours. So perhaps fittingly, it was a Pirates player who bagged the association’s top prize at the MFA awards night.

Classy midfielder Jordy Columbus was voted the top male player across all men’s divisions while Tessa Hyland, from the Blenheim Valley Bullets side who competed in the Nelson division one competition, won the corresponding female award.

Wolfie Waechter was named the referee of the year, Julian Adamson from Redwood took out the Master of the Year accolade, Paul Mustey from Rangers Clubs of Marlborough claimed the top goalkeeping award while Connor Endersby from Rangers AFC was voted Colt of the Year.


Football awards

Women’s Social Comp Winners: BV Chicks

Men’s Div 2 Round 1: Redwood Masters. Men’s Div 1 Round 1: Rangers AFC. Men’s Div 3 Round 2: Picton Crow Tavern Masters. Men’s Div 2 Round 2: Call Care Trojans. Men’s Div 1 Round 2

BV Cobras.

Men’s team (any division) highest points overall – Call Care Trojans

Knockout Cup

Knockout Consolation Plate: Central Buccaneers. Knockout Bowl: BV Cobras. Knockout Shield: BV Masters. Knockout Cup Runner Up: Rangers AFC. Knockout Cup Winner – Central Pirates

Women’s Zydenbos Shield – BV Chicks


Individual Awards

Golden Boot – Women’s Social Division: Latoya Collins – BV Chicks. Golden Boot – Men’s Div 3: Iain Tyler (Picton Crow Tavern) and Julian Adamson (Redwood). Golden Boot – Men’s Div 2: Blair Hantz (Call Care Trojans). Golden Boot – Men’s Div 1: Adam Rose (Rangers AFC).

Most Improved Overall Women’s Social Comp: Charlotte Ward (Picton)

Personality Award – Women’s Comp: Ashleigh Patterson (BV Chicks). Personality Award – Men’s Comp: Kerry Wilkin

Media Award: Pete Jones (The Marlborough App)

Inspiration to Others – Cheryl Thompson Memorial Trophy: Mike Nicholl (Rangers Masters)

Referee of the Year: Wolfie Waechter

Sportsperson of the year – Women’s Comp: Rebekah Driver (Trojans)

Sports Team of the Year (Referees Choice): BV MBC

Goalkeeper Award: Paul Mustey (Rangers Clubs of Marlborough)

Colt of the Year: Connor Endersby (Rangers AFC)

Master of the Year – Julian Adamson (Redwood)

Women’s Social League Player of the Year: Latoya Collins (BV Chicks)

Player of the Year – Senior Div 3: Nicky Smith-Scott (Rangers Masters)

Player of the Year – Senior Div 2: Blair Hantz (Call Care Trojans)

Player of the Year – Senior Div 1: Oliver Saunders (Rangers AFC)

Women’s Player of the Year across all women’s divisions: Tessa Hyland (BV Bullets)

Men’s Player of the Year across all men’s divisions: Jordy Columbus (Central Pirates).

Members of the BV Bullets side (some absent): Back, from left, Maggie Lane, Destiny Aires, Ruby Smith, Erin Mustey, Rebecca Stuart, Shanz Aires, Lucy Martin, Lauren Sloan, Freya Thompson, Ruby Wybourne and Jordyn McKay. Front, from left, Hannah Martin, Lea Poletti, Abby Owen and Tessa Hyland. Photo: Supplied.

Bullets conclude strong debut season

The Blenheim Valley Bullets football team wrapped up what was described as “an excellent debut season” in the Nelson women’s first division league at a rain-swept A and P Park on Saturday.

In their final hit-out, against FC Nelson on a muddy, unpredictable pitch, they turned in another gutsy effort before going down 2-1, the result decided by a very late and rather fortunate goal.

The home side came out firing, and within 10 minutes had the lead through Tessa Hyland.

In the second half, the balance of play was even before, with 15 minutes to play, Nelson FC forced a corner and their striker Grace Roche equalized.

Both sides had clear-cut chances to bag the winner, but it was the visitors who had the final say, when they scrambled the ball over the line almost on fulltime to take the spoils.

The BV midfield, particularly Ruby Smith, Hyland and Lauren Sloan, were outstanding while the backs worked hard as a defensive unit throughout. Freya Thompson and Lea Poletti contributed some sparking attacking runs. Player of the day was Abby Owen who was solid on defence and also countered with some great attacking play.

The previous week Bullets scored a notable 3-2 win over Nelson Suburbs at Saxton Fields.

Down 2-1 at halftime, Bullets showed their character with a confident passing game, which led to mounting and sustained attacks on goal. Rebecca Stuart and Abby Owen added the final two decisive goals while BV’s back three and sweeper excelled, holding out a series of strong Suburbs’ attacks.

BV players to standout were Ruby Wybourne, for her great crosses and incisive runs, plus Hyland and Sloan who combined well in the midfield to stymie Suburbs’ attack and create opportunities up front.

Player of match was defensive midfielder Smith who shut down lots of Suburbs attacks on goal and provided quality ball when BV went forward.

The Bullets finished fourth on the six-team Nelson women’s div one table, picking up four wins and three draws.  They were coached by Ian Thomas and Alan Elvy.

The victorious Central Pirates crew. Photo: Peter Jones.

Pirates prevail in Knockout Cup final

Central Pirates made it back-to-back Knockout Cup wins when they downed Rangers AFC 2-1 in the final at A and P Park on Friday night.

Pirates turned in a disciplined, composed performance to take out the Marlborough Football Association’s major elimination competition for the second year running.

Playing under lights after the match was shifted from its usual Saturday date, they took an early lead. After just five minutes a free kick from a central position was parried away by Rangers keeper Arthur Morel but only as far as Pirates’ winger Shane Evans who made no mistake, guiding the ball into the left hand corner.

Rangers immediately lifted their game, finding space on both flanks through Scott Denmark and Sam Pearson, but were unable deliver enough quality ball into the centre to allow prolific striker Adam Rose a chance to equalise, although he did draw a good save out of Pirates keeper Amon McGregor midway through the half.

The experienced Central back four of Dave Turner, Andrew McCaa, Matt Goldsworthy and Nick Rayner were organised, energetic and efficient, denying their rivals space and time in possession.

Trailing by just a single goal at the break Rangers were quickly into their stride and pulled the scores level after 50 minutes, picking up a similar goal to their rivals’ earlier effort. McGregor was unable to hold a stinging shot from the left and Rose strode forward to bury the rebound.

With the match tied up, both sides pushed forward looking for the winner and it was Central who made the breakthrough 15 minutes later. A superbly-flighted corner kick from Jordy Columbus on the right dipped and curled into the top of the Rangers goal, slipping through the keeper’s hands and glancing off the head of Rayner into the back of the net.

Perhaps surprisingly, Central did not sit back and defend for the final quarter, instead pushing forward in pursuit of a third goal, with hard-running striker Chris Turkington finding more space as his opponents pressed at the other end.

With Sam Boyce and Columbus bustling and busy in midfield Pirates were able to deny vital possession to an increasingly-frustrated Rangers side, who began to push hopeful passes as the final minutes ticked by.

Martin and Julian Delgado, Connor Endersby, Pearson, Rose and George Bond toiled hard, especially after the loss of Ollie Saunders with a hamstring strain early depleted the Rangers’ strike force.

Unfortunately for Rangers, there were to be no last-gasp heroics, leaving Pirates worthy winners on the night.

Their big-match experience shone through, providing clear decision-making mixed with solid, no-frills football.

Central spokesman Andrew McCaa was happy to bag a second consecutive Knockout Cup, suggesting his side’s more physical approach paid dividends.

“We really wanted the 50/50 balls a bit more. We had a really good game plan where we sat and let them come at us … and then we broke and scored a couple of really good goals.”

Although Rangers were able to level the scores early in the second half, McCaa felt his side were generally in control.

“I still though we were playing alright [when they equalized]. They didn’t get many opportunities and, although they took the one they got, I felt we had the best defence on the day … we felt secure at the back and it didn’t feel like they were going to break out at any stage. Guys like Dave [Turner] and Nick [Rayner] have played thousands of games so they have been-there, done-that before. It’s great to go back-to-back.”

Scores: Central Pirates 2 (Shane Evans, Nick Rayner) Rangers AFC 1 (Adam Rose). HT: 1-0 Central.

Due to bad weather, the other Knockout finals due to be played last Saturday were deferred. The KO Shield match will be contested at 6.30pm, Thursday, while both the Bowl and Plate finals will be played at 12.30pm on Saturday.

Rangers AFC player Sean Crawford knocks the ball past BV MBC’s Jonty Pinkerton in their Knockout Cup semifinal. Photo: Supplied.

KO Cup finalists found

Rangers AFC and Central Pirates will meet in the final of the 2019 Knockout Cup competition.

The finalists made their way to the decider in contrasting fashions, Rangers battling hard to overcome Blenheim Valley MBC 3-1 at A and P Park on Saturday, while Pirates romped past Rangers Masters 11-0 in the other semi at the same venue.

Rangers AFC scored first through Adam Rose in the 38th minute from a well-directed corner to take a 1-0 lead onto the break. However MBC showed their usual grit to get back into the game after 60 minutes, their leading scorer Shinji Mikame equalizing from a free kick.

Rangers bagged a second in the 84th minute, again through the efforts of the prolific Rose, who slotted home after a rebound from the post.

MBC pushed hard, seeking an equalizing strike in the dying minutes, but were caught on the break, Rose completing his hat-trick in the 90th minute.

In the other cup semifinal, third division side Rangers Masters found themselves up against first division rivals Central Pirates, due to Masters’ previous opposition, Call Care Trojans, playing an ineligible player in the semis and being ruled out of the next round.

In Saturday’s semi, Pirates opened the scoring in the ninth minute through a penalty from Chris Turkington.

Rangers did well to hold Pirates to 1-0 until the 32nd minute when Sam Boyce doubled their lead, quickly followed up by a third through James Coughlan in the 33rd minute.

Three more goals followed, a second strike from all the first three scorers pushing Pirates to a 6-0 half time lead.

The second half was much the same with the division one side popping in another five goals through Chris Turkington, two goals taking his tally to four, James Coughlan, who completed a hat-trick, Jordy Columbus and Matt Goldsworthy.

In the Knockout Shield semis BV Masters beat Novus Picton 3-0 while Rangers Clubs of Marlborough downed Redwood Masters 6-1.

In the Knockout Bowl semis Central Wolves beat Cobras 3-2 on Saturday, but then saw the result reversed on Monday when Wolves were found to have fielded an ineligible player. Cobras now progress to the final where they will meet Trojans who downed Picton Crow Tavern Masters 6-1.

The finals will be played next weekend.

Women’s football

The Blenheim Valley Bullets were beaten 5-1 in the semi-finals of the women’s First Division Cup competition at Saxton Fields on Saturday.

Richmond Foxes were first to score but Bullets bounced back and equalised from a well-struck penalty by Lucy Martin in the 22nd minute. However, the home side hit back immediately and led 2-1 at the break.

In the second half, the determined Foxes scored a further three goals with the final score perhaps flattering to the home side.

Maryann Cant scored four of the five Foxes’ goals and proved a handful on attack. Standout players for BV were keeper Maggie Lane, Ruby Wybourne and Lucy Martin up front, plus Ruby Smith for her high work rate and creativity in midfield. Player of the day went to centre back Erin Mustey.

MBC striker Shinji Mikame delivers into the box. Photo: Peter Jones.

Then there were four

The contenders for this year’s Marlborough Football men’s Knockout Cup have been whittled down to a quartet of semifinalists after Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Rangers AFC, Central Pirates, Blenheim Valley MBC and Call Care Trojans will meet in the round of four, with an eye on the final prize of the local club season.

Rangers downed fellow division one side Central Pirates 6-1, Pirates took care of Picton Crow Tavern Masters 8-3, Call Care Trojans downed Rangers Masters by the same score and Blenheim Valley Marlborough Boys’ College beat BV Cobras 2-0.

The latter game was something of an upset, given Cobras had taken out the second round of pool play and were in good form.

However it was the students who took this “game of two halves” by the scruff of the neck at A and P Park. After a first half dominated by Cobras, which ended scoreless, MBC took the lead after 12 minutes of the second spell through skilful striker Shinji Mikame who notched a superb individual effort.

Their second came in the final 10 minutes, courtesy of Tana Connor-McClean who clinically converted a shooting chance at the left post.

The longer the match went on the more dangerous MBC looked, with replacement Cameron Miller and Connor-McClean close to increasing their lead in the latter stages.

Keeper Dan Diamond was impressive for MBC, along with the Knobben siblings, Joe and Sid, midfielder Ryan Palmer, winger Patrick Moran, and the industrious Ben Ivory-McCullum.

Jack Procter stood out for Cobras, along with central defender Hayden Giles, Take Thu, James Mailaman and Jackson Simmons.

The Rangers v Wolves game, originally scheduled for A and P Park was shifted to Athletic Park.

Rangers took the lead in the first 20 minutes through a well-worked Sean Crawford goal, but allowed Wolves back in the game when Harry Boyce equalized just before half time with a well-struck goal from outside the box.

Rangers started the second half well and went ahead with a Martin Delgado goal. Now in full control, they restricted Wolves to a couple of half chances, adding four more to their tally to finish the game well on top.

Rangers’ scorers were Adam Rose, 2, Connor Endersby, Crawford, Delgado and Liam Forman.

Wolves’ best were Aaron Vercoe, Richie Marsden and Paddy Stephens.

Earlier, at A and P Park, Trojans also produced a second half scoring spree. They led Rangers Masters 2-1 at the break then added six more in the final 45, allowing Masters a couple of their own.

Brayden Livingstone scored a hat-trick for Trojans, Gustavo Cruz and Blair Hantz both scored a brace while the other was an own goal. Craig Forman scored two for Rangers, the other from Wolfie Waechter.

The final game was staged at Picton’s Endeavour Park. The home side scored first and trailed just 3-2 at the 60 minute mark before running out of steam as Pirates rattled in five goals in the final half an hour. Their scorers were Nick Rayner, 2, John Porter, 2, Mike Jay, Chris Turkington, Jono Masters and Shane Evans.

Iain Tyler scored twice for Picton while Brad Lewis bagged the other.

Knockout Cup results:

Rangers AFC 6 Central Wolves 1; Blenheim Valley MBC 2 BV Cobras 0; Central Pirates 8 Picton Crow Tavern Masters 3; Call Care Trojans 8 Rangers Masters 3.

In the Nelson Women’s first division match played at Nelson’s Jubilee Park Blenheim Valley Bullets lost 4-0 to Richmond Foxes.

In an exciting free-flowing game, with opportunities at both ends, Foxes led 2-0 at halftime, through goals to Casey Ogilvie and Maryann Cant.

In the second half, BV keeper Lane made a number of decisive saves, earning her the player of the day award.

Foxes’ third goal came after a sprawling save by Lane, Paige Ferguson netting the rebound, then another strong attack from the home side was rewarded shortly after with a second goal to Ogilvie.

Destiny Aires looked strong on the wing for BV, and Erin Mustey and Tessa Hyland made notable contributions.