FOOT­BALL CLUB

Waihi Leader - - News - By BRENT WIL­LOUGHBY AND JAMES HEFFIELD

A top of the table clash between Waihi AFC and Claude­lands Wallys ended in a 0-0 draw in Hamil­ton last Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The match was hotly con­tested, with both teams aware that a vic­tory would put them in pole po­si­tion to win the league. Waihi started well and nearly went a goal up early on when Jar­rod Irv­ing hit a shot from the edge of the 18 yard box that swerved late and went wide. Claude­lands im­posed its phys­i­cal­ity more as the half went on, com­ing back into the match as the ref­eree de­cided to let many of the team’s du­bi­ous chal­lenges go. How­ever, Waihi’s de­fence held firm and the sides went to the break goal­less.

Waihi’s half time talk fo­cused on re­turn­ing to a pass­ing game and keep­ing the ball on the deck. But this plan did not even­tu­ate as both teams played a long ball game for much of the sec­ond half. Waihi fash­ioned two good chances, with Richard James com­ing close to scor­ing half way through the the half and Aod­han Balemi miss­ing out on an op­por­tu­nity late in the match. Claude­lands cre­ated a golden op­por­tu­nity of its own near the full time whis­tle, but de­fender Caleb Kirkham saved the shot on the goal line by get­ting his chest in the way. The re­sult leaves Waihi in sec­ond place on the Waikato B League table, with one week of league play to go. It means Waihi re­quires a win from next week­end’s match and a draw or loss for Claude­lands Wallys to se­cure the ti­tle. Man of the match was Caleb Kirkham.

In school matches, the 1st XI lost to St Peter’s op­po­nents 6-3, and the Girls 1st XI also play­ing St Peter’s, lost 2-1, in the fi­nal games for these sides. The Colts needed a win against Te Awa­mutu to se­cure com­pe­ti­tion Cham­pi­ons sta­tus, and played an out­stand­ing game to do this. They came away win­ners 2-0 with goals to Kon­nah Sas — a long-range ef­fort, and Ben Hen­nessy — a great in­di­vid­ual ef­fort glid­ing past four de­fend­ers, be­fore beat­ing the keeper with a fine shot. Con­grat­u­la­tions boys on a fine sea­son, and to coach Rudy Sas for his third win­ners ti­tle in three years.

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