Swifts ready for big 2017 season
Matamata Swifts’ senior men’s and women’s football teams have completed their pre-season preparations and are now set for this weekend’s big kick-off.
The Swifts first team will again compete in the 12 team Loaded WaiBOP Premiership, the Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s top regional league. After completing an unbeaten pre-season, the team will be aiming to go a position or two better than their third place finish in 2016.
The team drew their opening pre-season game, against Premiership rivals Waikato Unicol, 1-1, before beating another Premiership side, Papamoa, 7-1. Their final pre-season match, against Auckland Conference side Norwest United, on Saturday resulted in a solid 2-0 win thanks to two goals from new signing Dayne Willemsen. This suggests the Swifts are shaping up well ahead of their Premiership opener against Tauranga Boys’ College, which is scheduled for a 2.45pm kick-off this Saturday at the Domain.
Along with Willemsen, the Swifts have signed young goalkeeper, Patrick Steele, and welcome back Bjorn Vossen. The squad will be built around a solid core of experience, with a number of players having made close to or more than a century of appearance for the club at this level. Coach Paul Richardson, in his second full season at the helm, April 1 & 2, 2017:
Matamata Swifts v Tauranga Boys’ College, 2.45pm, Matamata Domain.
Richardson Racing Stables Swifts Reserves v Tauranga City, 12.30pm, Matamata Domain.
Swifts A v Te Awamutu, 12.30pm, Matamata Domain.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies v TBC, 11am Sunday. will also expect a lot from a group of younger players who now look to be coming of age.
The Richardson Racing Stables Swifts reserves, coached by Jeremy Pope, will be a young side. The team will again compete in the WaiBOP Championship, the region’s second tier, which will be an excellent test. The championship contains reserve teams from eight premiership clubs this season, which means the team will be playing curtain raisers for the firsts most weekends. They play Tauranga City at 12.30pm at the Domain this Saturday.
The Swifts third team has had a full pre-season and play Te Awamutu at the Domain on Saturday, while the Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies won’t know Sunday’s opponents until after this article was written. Under new coach, Nigel Leaver, and with a number of exciting new faces, the team will be aiming to do well in Waikato Women’s Division B this season.