Waihi Leader - - News - By BRENT WIL­LOUGHBY

Waihi AFC

Waihi trav­elled to a muddy Gower park last Satur­day to play the Melville B52s Team. Sit­ting one point be­hind League lead­ers Claude­lands Rovers Wally’s Bs ev­ery game is a po­ten­tial fi­nal —a must-win match hop­ing the Wally’s Bs lose(as their name may sug­gest!).The 4-2 re­sult, in­clud­ing a hat-trick from striker Jar­rod Irv­ing earned Waihi an­other cru­cial win today.

The muddy Melville pitch made at­trac­tive foot­ball dif­fi­cult, and long pe­ri­ods of play saw the ball ping-pong­ing be­tween the teams, nei­ther side be­ing able to con­trol pos­ses­sion. But Waihi proved it had enough qual­ity up front, scor­ing twice early in the match through Irv­ing and fel­low striker Richard James. Irv­ing’s goal came when he fol­lowed up a shot on goal that was dropped by the keeper, al­low­ing him to knock it home with ease. James made it 2-0 when he re­ceived a through ball from Irv­ing, con­trol­ling it well be­fore drib­bling past the keeper and ham­mer­ing it home. Melville’s play­ers replied with a goal of their own from a free kick be­fore Irv­ing scored his sec­ond, hit­ting a shot with real venom from the edge of the 18-yard box that eas­ily beat Melville’s keeper at the near post.

The sec­ond half was scrap­pier. Melville scored a sec­ond goal half way through the half af­ter captain James Heffield shanked a clear­ance into the path of a striker who fired it home. Waihi held its nerve though, and fin­ished strongly. Irv­ing com­pleted his hat-trick with a pow­er­ful shot that de­flected off a de­fender into the goal. Waihi’s mid­field of Ryu­sei Nishida, Neil Hope, James Heffield, Vin­nie Fran­sham and Aod­han Balemi are to be praised for their high workrate, speed, and abil­ity to both work pos­i­tively as a unit, and link ef­fec­tively with the at­tack. One at­tack­ing move in the sec­ond half, a high­light of the match, saw five or six slick passes move the ball be­tween them, and the at­tack­ing pair, re­sult­ing in a great shot, and equally fine save from Melvilles keeper. The move cer­tainly de­served a bet­ter fate!

The win keeps Waihi in the running to win the league, with two matches to go. The Man of the Match award went to Jar­rod Irv­ing.

Mean­while Claude­lands Wally’s, three goals be­hind at half time to Claude­lands Rovers Squat­ters Bs, a midtable team who were ob­vi­ously friends and col­leagues of their op­po­nents, fought back to win by a sin­gle goal, thus main­tain­ing their top of the ta­ble by one point ad­van­tage over Waihi. You would maybe feel a bit of col­lu­sion oc­curred.

The sec­ondary schools com­pe­ti­tions took a rest over the week­end, for the Knock­out Fi­nals to take place, but no Col­lege teams were in­volved.

Waihi’s Boys 1st XI

They played in the Thames Val­ley An­nual 1st XI Tour­na­ment in Katikati last week (Tues­day), and won it for the first time since 2003. The fi­nal re­sult came down to the wire though, as Waihi and Katikati ended with the same win, draw, loss record, and the same goal dif­fer­en­tial — nine, and a penalty shootout re­sulted. Af­ter the reg­u­la­tion, five shots each the score was 4-4. Katikati had shot first, so when Kee­gan Hamer­ton saved save their eighth shot, it was up to Tommy Steele to slot his penalty to win the game. Tommy drilled it to the keeper’s left re­sult­ing in much ju­bi­la­tion from the Waihi team, coach­ing staff, and sup­port­ers!

Waihi Col­lege Yr 7 & 8

The team had their fi­nal game last Satur­day, having al­ready won their grade con­vinc­ingly. This early suc­cess may have im­pacted on their at­ti­tude, as they were only nar­rowly ahead at half time against Pa¯pa¯moa. Some bet­ter passing ex­changes through the mid­field in the sec­ond half re­sulted in Waihi draw­ing clear to win 5-2- 2 goals to Dy­lan Steele, and a hat-trick to Dan Oliver. Well done boys on a great sea­son.

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