Swifts ready for big 2017 sea­son

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DWAYNE BARLOW

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.

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