Swifts U19s battle best teams in NZ
Matamata Swifts have returned from the annual Labour Weekend Under-19 Youth Tournament in Napier wondering what might have been.
With five group games against clubs from as far north as Auckland and as far south as Wellington, the Swifts were fully aware of the challenge in the country’s largest annual club-based age group tournament.
The tournament is built in two parts. The main draw, involving the top 24 teams, includes some of the biggest clubs. Matamata competed in the Satellite tournament, involving 22 sides. The two Satellite finalists claimed a place in next year’s main draw.
On day one the Swifts drew their first three group games, 1-1 against Port Hill United, from Napier, 2-2 against Franklin United (Pukekohe/Waiuku) and 1-1 against Papakura City. This made their chances of progressing from pool play difficult. Frustratingly, Matamata led in all three games and coughed up goals they’d normally not concede.
Wearing the tag of draw specialists heading into day two, the team needed to find a way to win their two remaining games. Their next opponent, Onehunga Sports, was a beast of a team. The Swifts battled to a creditable 2-0 defeat against the side that would end up winning the Satellite tournament. The final match was lost 2-1 to Wainuiomata.
Matamata Swifts’ Luis John fires off a shot against Napier club, Port Hill United.