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.