It was another great weekend of football for Napier City Rovers with the Thirsty Whale Premier Reserves and Paddy’s Irish Bar Division 2 both maintaining their top of the league status after Round 3 in their respective competitions.
Following a bye last week the Duke of Gloucester NCR Pacific Premiership team took on Gisborne Thistle at Park Island.
Despite going down 2-3 to the visitors, the very young Prems side showed promising displays of football, and determination, in a game that wasn’t short of action.
It was another opportunity for the young Stu Wilson and Chris McIvor (Maca) coached side to experience senior football as the coaches continue to focus on the development and advancement of the youngsters.
Danny Wilson and Central League’s Jim Hoyle were brought in to assist with leadership on the field in absence of an injured Maca.
The Blues had the majority of possession in the first half, but despite this, found themselves 0-1 down at half-time after Gisborne's Nick Land scored on the stroke of 40.
In the 55th minute Liam McMenamy doubled the lead for Gisborne Thistle.
On the 75th minute Rovers were awarded a penalty and Wilson converted to take the score line to 1-2.
Gisborne responded immediately as McMenamy struck again to make it 1-3.
The Blues kept fighting and young Zac Madsen had the last say in the game as he hit the net to end the match a respectable 2-3.
Coach Stu Wilson says the coaching team can see good progress in the squad and were pleased with their display.
“It was a really good game. I’m really proud of the guys and how they played out there,” said Wilson.
“Seven out of the starting 11 were under 19, and the bench the same.
“We will continue focusing on our policy of development and I’m sure we’ll keep seeing improvement.”
MVP’s for the match: 1 point - Ethan Clark, 2 points - Isaac Milley and 3 points to Finn Smith.
After a few precarious starts this season, the current Hawke’s Bay Premier Reserves champions finally started well and controlled the game from the first whistle against Maycenvale United at Hastings Sports Park.
The Blues took the lead midway through the first half through an Andy Pickering header, and were unlucky not to double their tally with another hitting the bar shortly afterwards.
As the second-half got underway the boys continued their dominant display and were rewarded.
Dave Gearey scored from the penalty spot to double the lead for the Blues, and Mike Daly and Blair Turvey both hit the net to finish the game 0-4 to the league leaders.
Man of the Match was overseas visitor and stand-in goalkeeper, Sandro Russi, who has headed back home to Switzerland this week.
Russi first put on a Blues jersey 20 years ago after coming out for a season, and has always maintained a close affinity with the club.
Popular with players and supporters, there will be many looking forward to the Swiss returning to Napier.
“It’s been great to have Sandro back playing with us again for the last few weeks,” said coach Richard Gearey.
“We hope to see him back before the season ends to help us lift the league trophy once again.”
Paddy’s Irish Bar Division 2 continued their unbeaten run in the Conference League with a 6-0 win over Napier South at Park Island.
The Blues were dominant from the onset and came out at half-time 4-0 up.
Napier South fought back in the second half, but the class in the Rovers side was too much for the visitors and the game ended with a convincing 6-0 victory to the Blues.
“We knew this would be the toughest test of the season and we came out firing,” said player/coach Damien Izzard.
“We played good football throughout. Napier came at us in the second half but our quality ensured another clean sheet.”
Goal scorers were club captain Jimmy Tollison 2, Ben Wilson 2, Jeremy Yeomans 1, Matt Sproull 1.
Paddy’s Irish Bar NCR Masters had an automatic 3-0 win over Napier Marist after they defaulted. Danny Blackman claimed the hat-trick and the celebrations went on well into the night.
C’mon you Blues!
Senior football kicks-off tomorrow for all the Napier City Rovers teams.
Duke of Gloucester Prems, current Pacific Premiership champions, are away to Gisborne United for their first game of the season, while Thirsty Whale NCR Reserves start the defence of their 2018 league crown at Marewa Park against Port Hill United.
Paddy's Irish Bar Div 2 and Masters both start their season off with games at Park Island. Division 2 take on Port Hill's Div 3 in the new conference league, while NCR Masters are up against Taradale.
Thirsty Whale Napier City Rovers, started their Central League campaign last weekend with an action packed 2-1 win against newcomers North Wellington at Bluewater Stadium. The Ultra Football Central League champions head south tomorrow for Round 2 against Waterside Karori.
See below for all the details, and visit www.cityrovers.co.nz for all fixtures and results.