Ready to lead the Reds
Cambridge Football Club’s captain Patrick Woodlock is about to lead his team into one of the most important games in recent seasons.
The Reds play BeachlandsMaraetai in the return leg match of a qualifying series to decide which team will compete in the Northern Regional Football League next year.
Woodlock is aware of the pressure but believes Cambridge has the talent to get the job done.
He said the club hasn’t competed in the Northern League for at least six years.
‘‘It’s been a while since we were there,’’ he said.
Woodlock, 29, is a teacher at Cambridge High School, where he also coaches football.
He and fellow senior players like Nathan Claridge will be key to this Saturday’s crucial match. Claridge, 26, has played every season at Cambridge FC since he was four year old.
He has experienced the disappointment of relegation from the Northern League in 2011 but he had been instrumental in rebuilding the team.
And this year was the team’s most successful season at senior level.
Both Woodlock and Claridge played alongside Chris Wood when he made his senior debut for Cambridge, at age of 14, in 2006.
Wood is now leading the All Whites’ attack and starring for Burnley in the English Premier League.
Woodlock admitted it took some time for the team to find its way at the beginning of the 2017 season.
‘‘But our coaching staff found the right chemistry among the players and we have been able to play to our potential.’’
He said the turning point was the match against University of Auckland during the Chatham Cup.
‘‘Playing this team proved to be a catalyst and this gave us a lot more confidence.’’
Woodlock’s been fortunate to have the experience of three senior players to assist him guiding the youthful talent in the squad.
‘‘We have moulded well together as a unit and its a good blend of youth and experience.’’
A win this weekend would also help the club with player retention.
Keeping Josh Clarkin and Kyle Stead was key, he said.
‘‘Both these players have big futures ahead of them.
‘‘We have all worked hard this year and I would like to think we could all move forward as a team,’’ he said.
The aggregate score of last weekend’s game won 4-1 by the Reds and this Saturday’s will determine which club is promoted to next year’s Northern League second division.
Cambridge FC capatin Patrick Woodlock, playing in the Chatham Cup football game against University of Auckland earlier this year.