Pa­pakura City in premier league race

Papakura Courier - - FRONT PAGE - ALAN APTED

Pa­pakura City women have de­liv­ered their club the premier­ship it long sought.

They’ve scored the AFF/NFF con­fer­ence league ti­tle with a run of 12 win, two draws and a loss to fin­ish nine points clear of run­ners-up Eller­slie..

It’s the first ma­jor ti­tle in ages for a Pa­pakura City women’s team and it has earned them a crack at play­ing in the premier league next sea­son.

They must beat Waikato/Bay of Plenty cham­pi­ons Tau­ranga City over two legs to win pro­mo­tion. The first game is at McLen­nan Park, Pa­pakura on Sun­day at 1pm . The sec­ond is in Tau­ranga on Septem­ber 17.

The team was coached by Liam Martin who’d never run a women’s team be­fore. Nei­ther had he coached at this level in New Zealand be­fore.

‘‘It was a mas­sive team ef­fort. The first team play­ers were great to work with. The work ethic was al­ways high and the level of com­mit­ment was great con­sid­er­ing these play­ers are all bal­anc­ing their train­ing with home life, work, school or fam­ily.

‘‘Over­all I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter group of play­ers to work with.’’

Martin says the con­tri­bu­tion man­ager Clare El­son couldn’t be un­der­es­ti­mated and that the team had en­joyed won­der­ful sup­port at train­ing from the re­serves and from the mem­ber­ship as a whole.

Cap­tain So­phie McLach­lan says Martin has taken the team to an­other level.

‘‘We have de­vel­oped a re­ally strong women’s first team. Many of us have played to­gether for years, which has helped us to play well as a team and con­nect on the field.

‘‘Liam has built on this and been a key fac­tor in our suc­cess this year, in­tro­duc­ing a new for­ma­tion and style of play which has helped us to play more ef­fec­tive and suc­cess­ful foot­ball.’’

McLach­lan also high­lighted the sup­port the women are now get­ting and says it has con­trib­uted to their suc­cess.

The women’s re­serves were run­ners-up in their league. The premier men fin­ished sev­enth.

Pa­pakura City squad: So­phie McLach­lan (capt), Mar­lies James (vice capt), Sammy But­ler, Matina Rickard, Meripa Seu­manutafa, Liz Tak­erei, Libby Wil­liams, Jess Peck­ett, Jas­min El­son, Han­nah Lit­tle­wood, Jax David, Ge­or­gia Irvine, Mandy Wil­son, Sophia Fromont, Sarah Mvimbi, Rebecca Blyth, Liam Martin (coach), Clare El­son (man­ager).

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