Leo Langley, from the BV All Stars side, slams a ball into the net.

Rangers, Bullets notch important wins

Rangers AFC are back in the winning business, downing Nelson FC 3-1 at A and P Park on Saturday afternoon.

After drawing their previous encounter, their only glitch on a winning record this season, Rangers dug deep after conceding the first goal against the second-placed side in the Nelson division one football league.

They downed Nelson FC 4-0 the only other time they have met, in the first game of the season, but Rangers’ player/coach Tore Waechter said their opponents on Saturday were a better combination.

“This was one of the biggest three points [wins] I have been part of,” said the experienced midfielder. “I was impressed with how the guys didn’t let their heads drop after we went down 1-0. They certainly showed plenty of resolve.”

And they had to because Nelson FC began superbly, effectively turning the tables on the home side, who had set up their previous win with an early period of fast, accurate “quality football”.

“We were left chasing shadows in the first 20 minutes,” said Tore. “They could have been more goals up. We have usually dictated the early stages of our games but not this time … they pressured us every time we had possession.”

“However we didn’t panic and slowly worked our way back into the game.”

Rangers’ recovery began with a goal to Tore himself, 10 minutes before the break, levelling the scores and offering a confidence boost to the home side.

After halftime, FC Nelson again began strongly, but this time Rangers reacted quicker, having identified their rival’s key players.

Rangers’ second goal came midway through the half, a lengthy goal kick taken by Harrison Pine clearing Nelson’s defenders and allowing Carl Connor-McClean an opportunity which he took clinically.

He scored his second soon after, as the Nelson heads began to drop, skilful play on the right from Sam Pearson setting up the chance.

From then on Rangers “shut up shop”, man-marking the most dangerous Nelson players, which raised the visitor’s frustration levels in a game that got “a bit heated” at times.

The home side utilised a back four formation of player-of-the-day Jordy Columbus, Liam Sluiter, Harrison Pine and Ollie Baker which proved effective.

“It was a great way to start the second round,” said Tore.


Bullets win again

Meanwhile the BV Blenheim Bullets women’s team continued their progress up the Nelson division one table, beating Motueka AFC 8-2 in Motueka on Saturday.

Bullets fired up early, Tessa Hyland notching their first in the third minute.

Tiana Williams was next to score 10 minutes later, followed by a goal to Lauren Sloan in the 27th minute.

The home side pulled one back but second goals to Hyland and Sloan saw the visitors ahead 5-1 at the break.

Kirsten Pease scored their sixth, Hannah Martin their seventh then Pease completed her brace in the final minutes.

Bullets’ head coach Ian Thomas said, “It was a huge effort today from all the BV squad. Player of the day, for consistent work rate was Alicia McLeod.”

Next week Bullets face the table-topping Richmond Foxes.


Marlborough club scene

Bottle-O BV Masters wrapped up the Mayfield Motorworld Marlborough division one first round title when previous leaders Central Wolves, 10 points, slipped up on Saturday.

Masters, on eight points, took on BV Cobras at Athletic Park, needing all three points to eclipse Wolves. In the end, a Michael Jay goal in the 20th minute was enough to decide this tight match.

Meanwhile, at A and P Park, Wolves were beaten 3-2 by Call Care Trojans, who led 3-1 at halftime, following a brace of goals to Tomas Lupani and one to Niall O’Donohue. Steve McCaa scored both Wolves’ goals.

The third match saw Rangers Clubs of Marlborough register their first win of the season, downing Central Buccaneers 3-1 after leading 3-0 at halftime.

Final standings: BV Masters 11, Wolves 10, Trojans 7, Cobras 6, Buccaneers 4, Rangers CoM 4.

In division two Rangers Development, who had already sewn up the first round, beat Picton Crow Tavern 6-4 at Athletic Park. Trojans Dribbles beat Call Care Spartans 6-1 while Rangers Masters downed Central Privateers 4-1 at A and P after the scores were locked 1-1 at the break. Keagan Mortimer notched a hat-trick.

Final standings: Rangers Development 18, Trojans Dribbles 11, Redwood Masters 10, Picton 9, Rangers Masters 7, Spartans 6, Privateers 0.

Now senior football splits into three divisions, five teams contesting division one, four vying for division two honours and four doing battle in division three.

Kane Elvy, left, and Kerry Webb battle for possession during the division two match between Rangers Development and Redwood Masters at Athletic Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Rangers AFC wrap up first round honours

Despite turning in what their coach described as their “worst half of football for the season”, Rangers AFC retained their unbeaten record in the Nelson division one competition and took out first round honours.

They met second-placed Richmond at A and P Park on Saturday and came away with a 2-2 draw after trailing 2-0 at the break.

Player/coach Tore Waechter said the home side “were their own worst enemies”.

“It is a good learning curve for us and just goes to show that if you are not totally switched on you will get punished in this league.

“The good part though was the fact that the boys can take a lot of credit for putting the first half behind them and turning in a much better effort after halftime.”

The first half was a horror show for Rangers and their home supporters, missing several clear cut chances to get on the scoreboard while gifting their opponents a goal with a poor back pass and another when they were caught out by Richmond’s long ball attack, a tactic the visitors employed throughout.

Following halftime however it was a different story, Rangers dominating possession although many more scoring chances were spurned. Rangers’ first goal came from a lengthy goal kick, taken by Harrison Pine, which cleared the Richmond back four giving Carl Connor-McClean a chance to find the net with his first touch.

The equaliser came with 10 minutes to go, Waechter drilling home a free kick. Although they had several more opportunities in the closing stages to grab a winner, Waechter said, “It just wasn’t our day”.

Julian Delgado was a standout in midfield for the home side, as was Pine on the left flank and Sam Pearson on the right hand side.

Rangers face two more rounds in the top of the south league, kicking off round two with a match-up against Nelson FC in Blenheim next week.


Bullets win again

Meanwhile, the BV Bullets continued on their merry way in the Nelson women’s division one competition, beating Nelson Suburbs 6-3 at Saxton Fields on Saturday.

Six goals were scored in the first 30 minutes, helping BV to a 5-2 halftime advantage.

Suburbs scored first, but BV replied immediately through a superb strike from Tessa Hyland.

Suburbs went 2-1 up before Tiana Williams levelled proceedings.

A well-taken Lucy Martin free kick gave the visitors a 3-2 lead, before Williams bagged a second. Martin then completed her brace to put BV well in charge heading into the break.

The second half was less frantic, Riley Preece scoring BV’s sixth before the home side grabbed their third.

Hyland put in a top contribution in midfield while Bullets’ player of the day was hard-working back Erin Mustey.


Divisions one, two

Bottle-O BV Masters, Central Wolves and Call Care Trojans were the victors in Mayfield Motorworld division one matches played on Saturday.

In the top-of-the-table clash Wolves scored a comprehensive 5-1 win over Cobras to go clear at the head of the standings. Wolves led 3-1 at halftime, courtesy of goals to Andrew McCaa, Steve McCaa and Matt Stretch. In the second half Steve McCaa completed his hat-trick to ensure Wolves grabbed all three points. Anthony Michaels scored a consolation goal for Cobras.

BV Masters moved in to second place with a 5-1 win over Rangers Clubs of Marlborough. Masters led 3-0 at halftime, Matt Robertson, Andrew McFarlane and Ben Clarke finding the net. In the second spell Mark Elkington scored twice while Andrew Wheeler bagged a late goal for Clubs.

The third game saw Call Care Trojans down Central Buccaneers 2-1, through a first half goal to Tomas Lupani and a second to Gustavo Cruz midway through the second spell. T Hall scored for Central with five minutes to go.


Current division one standings: Central Wolves 10, BV Masters 8, BV Cobras 6, Central Buccaneers 4, Trojans 4, Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 1.

Decisive scorelines marked the three division two matches. Rangers Masters beat Call Care Spartans 3-0, Rangers Development downed Redwood Masters 6-1 and Picton Crow Tavern eclipsed Central Privateers 5-1.

BV Bullets player Kirsten Pease lines up a shot at goal during her side’s 4-1 win over FC Nelson on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

Rangers continue to show the way

Rangers AFC carried on their merry way on Saturday, racking up their fourth consecutive win in the Nelson division one football league.

They downed Nelson College 4-0 on a sloping pitch at Ngawhatu, turning in another comprehensive display of both attack and well-organised defence.

Rangers led 2-0 at halftime through goals to Pablo Dominguez and Jono Masters. Dominguez, an Argentinian, was the beneficiary in a goal mouth scramble to bag their first after eight minutes while Masters doubled their lead after 25 minutes with a nice strike from 15 metres.

Skipper Tore Waechter slammed the ball into the bottom corner for Rangers’ third, then Julian Delgado iced the cake with an easy finish after a Masters’ shot was saved.

Manager Wolfie Waechter said Rangers were in control for much of the match but was impressed with the College crew, especially their keeper who saved at least three clear goals.

He said Delgado and Sam Pearson turned in good stints while Harrison Pine at left back and centre mid was their player of the day for his vision and distribution skills.

Next week Rangers play the final match of the round, against a handy Richmond outfit in Blenheim.

The Liquid Action BV Bullets again underlined their firepower with a 4-1 win over FC Nelson in their Nelson women’s first division league clash at A and P Park.

The early stages of the match saw play ebb and flow both ways, early shots on goal by BV’s Destiny Aires and Lauren Sloan just wide of the mark.

Despite enjoying a lion’s share of possession, the home side continued to be denied until a superb pass from Tiana Williams helped Riley Preece knock in the first goal of the game, allowing BV to take a 1-0 lead into halftime.

FC Nelson came out firing in the second spell, a counterattack setting up an equalising strike by Chloe Hamilton after five minutes.

However, before long BV were back in front, a rocket shot from Williams finding the net.

That effort was followed by two further goals in quick succession to Lauren Sloan, ensuring the match was going to end with the home side pocketing three points.

The Bullets, who named Sloan as player of the day, have the added distinction of being the first team to score against FC this season.

On the local scene, two Central sides met in a top-of-the-table Mayfield Motorworld division one clash.

Wolves played Buccaneers at Athletic Park, the former coming away with a 2-0 victory Wolves scored a goal in each half, the first to Scott Wilkinson who produced a neat finish to good build-up play after 17 minutes.

Shane Evans scored their second, directly from a corner in the 83rd minute.

After a slow start Buccaneers got back into the game and it was a close contest at half time. However, an injury to influential captain Scott Hannan early in the second half dented Buccaneers chances. For Buccaneers brave goalie Patrick Moran and defender Axel Denis-Rambaud played well. For Wolves Sam Boyce and Evans has good games.

Another close encounter ensued between BV Masters and Trojans, at A and P Park. Masters eventually came out on top 2-1, after leading 1-0 at halftime through a Danny Campbell goal. Tomas Lupani equalised on the hour mark before James Crockett popped up with the winner five minutes later.

The third clash, at Athletic Park, was a high-scoring encounter between BV Cobras and Rangers Clubs of Marlborough. Cobras led 5-0 at halftime, a first half hat-trick by Mark Jackson, plus a brace to Richard Taylor showing the way. After the break Lincoln Ellsworth made it 6-0 before Glenn Kirby pulled one back for Clubs. Hamish Westwater made it 7-1 but Clubs notched the next three, though a double to Andrew Wheeler and one goal to Billy Welburn to close the gap to 7-4. Fittingly Cobras had the final say, though the industrious James Mailaman.

Mayfield Motorworld division two: Call Care Spartans 0 Rangers Development 8; Trojans Dribbles 2 Rangers Masters 2; Redwood Masters 2 Picton Crow Tavern 1.

Rangers Kiwis striker Hugo Escalle and Blenheim Valley Bayern keeper Josh Garrett converge on the ball during their 12th grade encounter at Oliver Park on Saturday morning. Photo: Peter Jones.

Rangers do enough, Bullets hit target

Rangers AFC were unable to replicate their prolific goal-scoring feats of the first two rounds, but still got the job done against a tenacious Tahuna team in Nelson on Saturday.

The Marlborough-based outfit prevailed 1-0, maintaining their winning run and keeping them clear at the top of the standings.

Without skipper Jordy Columbus and Sam Pearson, plus player/coach Tore Waechter, who is injured but sat on the bench, they were down in numbers, and experience, but were good value for their win.

The scores were locked 0-0 at halftime, Rangers having spurned a couple of clear chances. The home side, whose busy goalkeeper was in fine form, took heart from the fact they were still in the contest but were unable to stop the decisive goal, which came midway through the second spell. A curling free kick into the area from Ollie Baker was tucked away by the prolific Adam Rose.

Rangers were denied what seemed a legitimate second goal late in the match, the referee signalling a goal then reversing his decision. However, the home side were on the wrong side of a contentious penalty call for hand ball in the box in the final minutes, which Waechter suggested could have gone either way.

Best of the Rangers side was Carl Connor-McClean, who ran hard up front, centre midfielder Scott Belsham, a fomer Tahuna player, skipper-for-the-day Liam Sluiter, Harrison Pine, in an unfamiliar left centre back role, plus midfielder Julian Delgado.

Next week Rangers are away gain, this time to Nelson College.


Women’s league

The second Marlborough-based side in a Nelson league, the

Liquid Action BV Bullets, also prevailed, but much more comfortably.

They met Nelson College at Little Wembley in Nelson and won 8-0.

The visitors scored regularly, first half doubles to Lauren Sloan and Riley Preece, plus goals to Abby Owen and Destiny Aires setting up a 6-0 halftime lead.

Barely 90 seconds into the second spell, a string of well-weighted passes helped McKenzie Adkins add to BV’s tally.

Two solid strikes from BV player of the day Williams were denied by the College keeper, but she was unable to keep out an unstoppable third strike for Bullets’ final goal.

Coach Ian Thomas credited the midfield and wings with creating multiple scoring opportunities and recognised an outstanding effort from the defence to close out Nelson opportunities.


Local competition

On home soil, the Mayfield Motorworld division one and two competitions resumed after last week was washed out.

In divison one, Central Wolves notched a 4-1 win over Rangers Clubs of Marlborough, Richie Marsden, Paddy Stephens, Steve McCaa and Scott Wilkinson scoring Central’s goals. Matt Millar replied for Clubs.

BV Masters and Central Buccaneers fought out a 2-2 draw, Ben Clarke and Michael Jay scoring for Masters, a strike by J Ashman and an own goal grabbing a share of the spoils for Central.

The third game saw a 4-3 win by BV Cobras over Call Care Trojans. Paul Newport, Gustavo Cruz and Jack Morris scored for Trojans, while Nick Kerry, 2, A Aitken and Lincoln Ellsworth got on the scoreboard for the victors.

In division two, Rangers Development downed Trojans Dribbles 9-1, Call Care Spartans went down 1-4 to Picton Crow Tavern and Redwood Masters beat Central Privateers 3-1.

Central Privateers player Gareth Shawcross shields the ball from Call Care Spartans defender John Rawcliffe during their division two match at A and P Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter Jones.

Rangers AFC make it two-from-two

Rangers AFC have come out of lockdown in prolific mood.

For the second week in a row they have put four goals into their opponent’s net, this time downing Nelson Suburbs First XI 4-1 at Athletic Park on Saturday.

Last week Rangers disposed of FC Nelson 4-0 but their player/coach, Tore Waechter, felt his side had a more solid workout on Saturday.

“[Suburbs] are a really young side but are well coached and can definitely play football.

“They frustrated us in the first half, held onto possession, then stretched us wide. Every time we had a bad touch or were slow to the ball they pounced. We had to be really patient and show them some respect.

“However they didn’t create too much in the final third [of the field] and we were well organised at the back.”

After spurning a couple of early chances Rangers got on the board after half an hour. Suburbs were unable to clear a corner kick and, when it was headed back into the area Liam Sluiter nodded the ball home.

The Rangers AFC side after beating Nelson Suburbs First XI on Saturday at Athletic Park. Photo: Supplied.

That was the halftime score and prompted a solid period on attack for the home side.

After 55 minutes Rangers scored what their coach described as the best of the season. “There was some great one or two-touch footy with lots of movement. Then Sam [Pearson] crossed the ball into Adam [Rose] and he finished it.”

With rolling subs being the order of the day there were plenty of personnel changes. Rangers introduced Jono Masters to left midfield and he wrapped up the match with a brace of goals.

His first came after 70 minutes, another measured build-up putting him one-on-one with the keeper. Soon after Suburbs scored a consolation goal from the penalty spot but Masters had the final say with his side’s fourth in the final 10 minutes.

Rangers started with the same line-up that ran out for their opening encounter, with bench players such as Masters, Martin Delgado, Pablo Dominguez all making an impact when called on.

Among the starting XI, Rose, Scott Belsham, Sluiter and player of the day Jordy Columbus were prominent, while wingers Pearson and Harrison Pine showed their high levels of fitness.

Next week Rangers are away to Tahuna FC.

Meanwhile the news was not quite so positive for the Liquid Action BV Blenheim Bullets women’s side who play in the Nelson division one women’s competition.

They took on last season’s undefeated competition winners, Richmond Foxes, who ran out 3-1 victors after a tough battle at   Renwick.

Foxes drew first blood with a goal in the fifth minute, before Lauren Sloan evened the ledger 12 minutes before halftime.

Although a flurry of strikes on goal followed, the halftime score remained 1-1.

Early in the second half a perfectly-weighted corner from Tessa Hyland was denied by a fantastic save by the Richmond keeper, then a return strike by Richmond was thwarted by BV’s second-half keeper Abby Owen.

However, a period of concerted pressure from the defending champs saw them draw a goal ahead, before adding a third in the final 10 minutes.

Coach Ian Thomas gave credit to the hardworking midfield, and player of the day went to Hannah Martin for her unrelenting defence.

Due to rain during the week the Mayfield Motorworld division one matches and lower grades were postponed, with only three division two matches played.

Division two results from Saturday.

Call Care Spartans 3 Central Privateers 2.

Call Care Dribbles 2 Picton 0

Members of the Rangers AFC squad get together before practice. From left, front: Jordan Columbus, Juri Casali, Tore Waechter, George Bond, Wolfie Waechter. Middle: Tana Connor-McClean, Ollie Baker, Scott Belsham, Carl Connor-McClean, Julian Delgado. Back: Liam Sluiter, Harrison Pine, Sam Pearson, Jono Masters, James Coughlan. Photo: Supplied.

Rangers AFC to again take on Nelson’s best

Marlborough football’s fluctuating relationship with Nelson’s division one competition is back on again.

Two years ago Rangers AFC cut an unbeaten swathe through the Nelson championship, taking the title with three games to play. However last season, through a combination of factors, there was no Marlborough team in the division one race, the province’s top players being sprinkled through the various club sides on this side of the hill.

But in 2020 there will again be a presence in the top of the south battle, Rangers AFC confirming that they will field a team.

Leading the way is former Rangers AFC skipper Tore Waechter, a key player in their 2018 charge to the title. The 26-year-old midfielder will be player/coach of a formidable unit, comprising some veterans of previous campaigns and some untried, yet talented youngsters.

Lanky striker Adam Rose, right winger Sam Pearson, forward Carl Connor-McClean, defenders/midfielders Liam Sluiter and Julian Delgado, the energetic Jordan Columbus, plus young striker Harrison Pine were part of the title-winning team in 2018 and will form a solid basis of the current crop.

Newcomers Juri Casali, an Italian centre back working locally as a winemaker, plus former Tahuna player Scott Belsham will offer fresh talent, while such solid local performers as defender Ollie Baker, Jono Masters, James Coughlan and George Bond will team with youngsters such as Tana Connor-McClean and Dan Diamond, last year’s MBC keeper, in a squad which is expected to have more additions over the coming weeks. Providing back-up at keeper will be Brad Eiffe, the Tasman United Academy coach in Marlborough and a former Waimak (Christchurch) club player.

Waechter said a group of players had begun pre-season training on January 21 and were showing promise, especially during a run against a Woodbourne combination last week.

“Obviously we have a pretty big squad, which may mean we use some rotation, but it’s great for cover when players are away or injured.

“There is plenty of excitement in the camp … there are some players that have been around for a while who have come in this year and are fully fit, ready to give it their best shot.

“In our pre-season game we didn’t appear to have any weaknesses around the park, everyone was putting in the same sort of effort and pulling their weight around the field. It’s awesome to have a team back this year, so now we are just keen to get into it.”

Rangers’ first game is expected to be on March 28, although the draw had not yet been confirmed.

The participation record of Marlborough-based sides in the Nelson division one league has been something of a rollercoaster over the past decade.

When Rangers AFC joined the Nelson league in 2018 they followed in the footsteps of the Marlborough Mariners side, who competed in 2016.

The first Marlborough team to carry the Mariners moniker was in 2010, when they brought together the majority of the region’s top talent.

The Mariners continued in 2011 then, after a two year hiatus, Marlborough again established a presence in the Nelson league, with talented youngsters forming a Marlborough Development combination who contested the league in 2014-15.

Rangers AFC manager this season is local footballing stalwart Wolfie Waechter.


Bullets all fired up

The Rangers men won’t be the only Marlborough-based team plying their trade in a Nelson division one football competition.

The Blenheim Valley FC Liquid Action Bullets women’s team are gearing up for another season, which kicks off on Saturday, April 4.

Having placed fourth last year, the team are keen to build on that debut success. Coaches Ian Thomas and Alan Elvy are confident they will again be competitive and are pleased with the addition of five, more experienced players to the squad – in the form of Hannah Cook, Nicole Hyland, Tessa Lewis, Alicia McLeod, and Kirsten Pease.

The team farewelled Ruby Smith, Jannika Roubos, Ruby Wybourne, and Maggie Lane at the end of last season – with the first three leaving the region and Lane returning to play for her home team of Picton in the youth grade in 2020.

“We have a really promising team lined up to play this season – with a good solid crew of returning players, buoyed by the addition of our experienced newcomers to the team. We’re ready to build on our success in 2019, and excited to get the season underway,” Thomas says.

The BVFC Liquid Action Bullets: Makenzie Adkins, Destiny Aires, Shannah-Lee Aires, Eliza Bickerton, Taryn Gilbert, Tessa Hyland, Hannah Martin, Lucy Martin, Erin Mustey, Abby Owen, Lea Poletti, Riley Preece, Lauren Sloan, Rebecca Stuart, Freya Thompson, Hannah Cook, Nicole Hyland, Tessa Lewis, Alicia McLeod, Kirsten Pease, Maddison Rowe.

Tasman midfielder Corey Larsen, second from left, battles for the ball with a Southern United player during Saturday’s match at Lansdowne Park. Photo: Andrew Board.

Tasman United turn on the goals at Lansdowne

Tasman United’s recent resurgence continued in emphatic fashion in Blenheim on Saturday afternoon when they dismantled Southern United 5-0.

There were goals galore at Lansdowne Park as the hosts gave the Marlborough fans plenty to shout about in its first and only appearance over the Whangamoas this season.

Tasman opened the scoring in blistering style as Jean Phillipe Saiko’s superb individual effort put his side ahead after only six minutes.

The New Caledonian striker looked in ominous form and Tasman soon went 2-0 up as skipper Fox Slotemaker found the back of the net.

Things slowed at the back end of the first half but Tasman remained in control as the sides went to the sheds.

New signing Ben Watson ensured the momentum remained with Tasman after the break with a thunderous strike in the 55th minute to effectively put the game to bed.

Jesse Randall piled on the misery for the visitors with a far post finish 10 minutes later, then Corey Vickers put the exclamation mark on a resounding performance to seal the 5-0 victory.

Both Marlborough players on Tasman’s roster got game time, Nick Stanton playing the whole game in goal and youngster Jonty Roubos spending time on the pitch.

Tasman United jumps to fourth on the premiership table with its fourth win of the season and next week will travel to Auckland to take on the ninth-placed Waitakere United.

It was estimate that around 600 spectators attended the match, which had a delayed kick-off after the Southern side were late in arriving at the ground due to travel hold-ups.

Marlborough Football general manager Andrea Smith-Scott, said the crowd was up on the number who turned out for Tasman’s fixture at Lansdowne last year, a good result given the Picton Maritime Festival was also on Saturday.

“We were pleased with the crowd numbers,” said Smith-Scott. “It was up on last year which will hopefully keep it as a regular event on the calendar.”

Scores: Tasman United 5 (Saiko, Randall, Slotemaker, Watson) Southern United 0. HT: 2-0

When Tasman United take on Southern United at Lansdowne Park on Saturday, local goalkeeper Nick Stanton will have plenty of local support behind him. Yesterday he and midfielder Corey Vickers facilitated a Holiday Programme session for a large and enthusiastic group of young footballers at A and P Park. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tasman United coming to town

The region’s premier football team will make their one and only appearance in Marlborough this season on Saturday.

Tasman United, who compete in the ISPS Handa Premiership, which involves the nation’s 10 leading provincial teams, will take on Dunedin-based outfit Southern United at Lansdowne Park, traditionally Marlborough rugby headquarters.

Tasman made a slow start to the season, languishing near the foot of the standings, but have worked their way up to fifth position after downing Eastern Suburbs 2-0 at Saxton Field on Sunday.

Tasman goalkeeper in that match was Marlborough man Nick Stanton, making his starting debut this season. After coming away with a clean sheet Stanton hopes he will get the nod to start as Tasman’s campaign rolls into his home territory this weekend.

Tasman played Southern in the first game of the 2019-20 campaign, producing a sub-par effort to lose 4-0 but then having the match awarded to them when the Dunedin side was ruled to have fielded an ineligible player.

“It’s going to be an interesting game on Saturday, especially after what happened last time,” suggested Stanton. “Hopefully I train well and get the start again this week.”

“They will be out for blood after losing the points last time which is always good … it means we will have to fight harder … it steps us up, makes us a better team.”

He says the league is shaping as a much closer affair this season. “There are just two teams [Team Wellington and Auckland City] out on their own … everyone else is within one point of each other.

“Last season it was more a top-of-the-league, bottom-of-the-league divide whereas this year it is the two top teams, with everyone else in the mixer.”

He has relished the Tasman United culture since returning to the region from Wellington. “I am enjoying it, it’s different [to Wellington] with the sunnier days and harder grounds and we have a great bunch of lads this season, they are easy to get along with … it’s all going well.”

Kick off on Saturday is 4pm, with entry free.

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.