Team named cham­pi­ons

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News - Rachel Can­ning

They played their last game with a de­pleted team and lost, but didn’t care, be­cause Taupo¯’s top foot­ball team had been crowned cham­pi­ons in the first divi­sion Waikato-Bay of Plenty com­pe­ti­tion the pre­vi­ous week­end.

Taupo¯ AFC club pres­i­dent John McCart­ney says the win is due to a com­bi­na­tion of player com­mit­ment and the de­vel­op­ment of player skills.

A squad of 18 play­ers have trained twice a week for the 24-week sea­son, in ad­di­tion to pre-sea­son train­ing that started in Fe­bru­ary. John says the squad is made up of lo­cal play­ers plus two trav­el­ling from Ro­torua, rang­ing in age from 16 to men in their mid 30s.

“Full credit to the coach, Mike McGrath, who also has a full time job. But over­all the win is a whole team ef­fort of the guys all look­ing after each other.”

Not with­out con­tro­versy, the com­pe­ti­tion was dogged by teams de­fault­ing and one team be­ing ex­pelled, lead­ing to the last game against Pa¯pa¯moa be­ing mean­ing­less. How­ever in the fi­nal against Mer­cury Toko­roa, the score was a con­vinc­ing 7-1 win, with Fin Smith the top goal scorer over the sea­son.

John says that play­ing for Taupo¯ AFC Premier­ship is hugely time con­sum­ing.

“We play away ev­ery sec­ond week­end, and it’s vir­tu­ally a twohour drive ev­ery time,” says John.

He says the top team of­ten poaches play­ers from re­serves.

“The coach of the re­serves team, Brad Frew, was very pa­tient with us. He never re­ally knew who was go­ing to be in his team.”

On Satur­days a loyal band of sup­port­ers would come to sup­port the games and John says they all de­serve a big thank you.

“It can be pretty bit­ter down there at Crown Park, but our sup­port­ers came along to sup­port the teams each time we played.”

John says he hopes that most of this year’s team will come back to play next year, but says the club never re­ally knows who is go­ing to turn up to pre-sea­son train­ing.

“At least four mem­bers of the squad are school boys who will be head­ing off to uni­ver­sity and other play­ers have sig­nalled they may re­tire from the 1st divi­sion com­pe­ti­tion due to the phys­i­cal de­mands of the game.”

The com­pet­i­tive sea­son may be over, but foot­ball keeps on go­ing with the John McCart­ney In­vi­ta­tion Tour­na­ment at Crown Park this week­end, with 560 games sched­uled to be played on 24 fields.

“We have 130 teams ar­riv­ing this week­end, and 50 teams on the wait­ing list who want to play. It’s a tour­na­ment that pro­motes en­joy­ment and par­tic­i­pa­tion for school-age chil­dren.”

■ Watch the foot­ball tour­na­ment this week­end at Crown Park, free en­try, start­ing at 8am and fin­ish­ing 5pm on Satur­day. and 3pm on Sun­day.

Photo / Sup­plied.

Taupo¯ AFC Premier­ship was crowned the Loaded WaiBOP Premier­ship Cham­pi­ons in a con­vinc­ing 7-1 win against Mer­cury Toko­roa.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.