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.