Rangers AFC took care of some unfinished business on Saturday, a 2-0 win over Richmond at Athletic Park completing a clean sweep of wins against every opponent in the Nelson division one football league.
In their two previous league meetings with Richmond, Rangers had come away with draws but this time they made no mistake.
A first half goal to Harrison Pine, his swerving free kick rocketing past the Richmond wall, had Rangers leading 1-0 at the break. Then Jono Masters bagged their second after 55 minutes, taking advantage of a searching cross from replacement Aaron Hayes.
Saturday’s result was not only a fitting end to Rangers’ victorious division one campaign, it was also a timely morale-booster heading into their final game of a superb season, the Nelson Knockout Cup final against Nelson FC next weekend.
Player/coach Tore Waechter, named Marlborough Football’s male player of the year in the season-ending awards, suggested Saturday’s effort was “one of the best games we have played all season”.
He had urged his players to move the ball quickly, utilising one-touch football rather than dribbling and said they responded superbly, creating a multitude of chances and dominating proceedings.
Midfielder Scott Belsham was one of Rangers’ best, winning all his challenges and holding the ball well, Carl Connor-McClean also impressed up front, along with Masters, Pablo Dominguez, the back three of Pine, Liam Sluiter and Jordan Columbus, plus the Delgado brothers, Julian and Martin, who provided plenty of energy.
The Cup final will be played at Guppy Park in Nelson, with a 3pm kickoff.
Tore predicted a tight tussle, similar to the previous games against FC this season. He said he expected to have a fully-fit squad to choose from as they go in search of a notable double.
Already Rangers AFC have been named the MFA team of the year.
BV Bullets player Tiana Williams was chosen as the women’s player of the year.
Her side was in action for the final time this season on Saturday, wrapping up a highly-satisfying campaign with a 2-2 draw against Nelson Suburbs at Saxton Fields.
Despite continued pressure on Suburbs’ defence by Leonie Marshall, Lauren Sloan, Lucy Martin and Tessa Hyland it was the home side who took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
Suburbs then went up 2-0 after 60 minutes before the visitors began their resurgence.
A blinder of a strike from Sloan whistled narrowly over the top before a perfect pass from Hyland set Marshall up for BV’s first.
Then a perfectly-weighted cross from Freya Thompson allowed Sloan to level the scores with a decisive header.
BV had a final opportunity to go ahead when Sloan was felled in the box, but her penalty attempt was saved.
Coach Ian Thomas said it was a nail-biting end to a fantastic season. “The team has shown incredible improvement from last year, and really gelled as a strong unit – which is all boding really well for next year – with the core of the team likely to return for the 2021 season.”
Marlborough Football awards
Men’s Div 1 Round 1: Bottle-O BV Masters. Men’s Div 2 Round 1:
Rangers Development. Men’s Div 1 Round 2: Central Wolves. Men’s Div 2 Round 2: Rangers Development. Men’s Div 3 Round 2:
Men’s team (any division) highest pts overall: Rangers Development (27 points)
Women’s Social Comp winners: Picton
Knockout Cup awards
Knockout Cup Winner: Central Wolves; runner-up: Central Buccaneers. Knockout Shield: Rangers Masters. Knockout Bowl:
Rangers Clubs of Marlborough. Knockout Consolation Plate: Picton. Women’s Zydenbos Shield: BV Chicks.
Golden Boot awards – Men’s Div 1: Stephen McCaa (Central Wolves) 13. Men’s Div 2: Liam Clamp (Rangers Development) 13. Men’s Div 3: Keagan Mortimer (Rangers Masters) 14. Women’s Social Division: Maggie Lane (Picton).
Most Improved Overall Women’s Social Comp: Louisa Patterson (Picton)
Personality Awards – Women’s Social: Yuri Collins (Picton). Men’s Comp: Simon Fowke (Rangers Clubs of Marlborough)
Media Award: Pete Jones – The Marlborough App
Inspiration to Others: Stephen Plant (Call Care Spartans)
Referee of the Year: Morgan Breuer
Sportsperson of the year – Women’s Social: Donna Sio (Picton)
Sports Team of the Year – Referees Choice: Rangers AFC
Goalkeeper Award: Amon McGregor (Central Wolves)
Colt of the Year: Tana Connor-McClean (Rangers AFC)
Master of the Year: Andy Wheeler (Rangers Clubs of Marlborough)
Women’s Social League Player of the Year: Stacey Smith (BV Chicks)
Players of the Year – Senior Div 3: Murray Ward (Picton Crow Tavern). Senior Div 2: Josh Whittall (Rangers Development). Senior Div 1: Nick Rayner (Central Wolves)
Women’s Player of the Year across all women’s divisions: Tiana Williams (Liquid Action BV Bullets)
Men’s Player of the Year across all men’s divisions: Tore Waechter (Rangers AFC).