Contributors Jerome Brown, Richard Gearey and Stu Wilson
Duke of Gloucester Napier City Rovers and Thirsty Whale Premier Reserves sit top of their tables after going undefeated in the opening rounds of their respective league campaigns.
NCR Prems kicked-off their Computer Care Pacific Premiership crusade at Bluewater Stadium with a 4-0 win over Gisborne Thistle. Goals from Leighton Ross (2), Chris McIvor and Dan Ball secured the three points for the Blues. In Round two The Prems defeated Taradale away, with a double from Dan Ball and a goal by Chris McIvor sealing the game and ensuring the top of the table spot.
Coach Stu Wilson says he is impressed with his team's start to the season, and with a mixture of youth and experience in the squad he's happy with how things are shaping up so far.
“Two games, two wins, two clean sheets. We’re playing good football and developing youth with a splatter of experience,” says Wilson.
Last year’s League Champions Thirsty Whale Premier Reserves got off to a flyer this season. In Round 1 they played Hastings Hibernian at Park Island and it didn't take long for the goals to flood in.
Man of the match Phil Dol scored a hat-trick from left back, while Dan Ball netted three, Stu Wilson, Finn Smith and Sam Slater two-a-piece, and one each from Willie Stanger, Jasper Vowden and Richard Gearey rounded off a 15-1 demolition of the Hastings side.
Last week was a tougher battle away against Taradale, but the patience of the boys was rewarded and they sailed to a 0-3 win. Both Player/coaches Mike Daly and Richard Gearey got themselves on the score sheet, as well as man-of-the-match Sam Slater who put in a hard shift up front for the Blues.
Paddy’s Irish Bar NCR Division 2 started the season with a derby match against Napier Marist.
The Blues took an early lead through a stunning finish by Jay McConie, however, Marist soon took control and went 1-2 up. Jerome Brown managed to equalize from a monster of a throw-in by Jimmy Tollison, but Marist went ahead again, this time holding on to the lead for a 2-3 win.
A disappointing start but one coach Jerome Brown said they could take positives from.
Round two saw Div 2 travel to Taradale. After dominating the early exchanges they went 0-1 down through a wonder strike by Taradale. The Blues quickly bounced back with a great finish from roving One News reporter, Sean Hogan making it 1-1. Just before the break a collision while going on goal saw Matt Sproull sustain a fractured hand. The injury sees last season’s top goal scorer out for a while, a huge blow for the Blues.
With barely a quarter of the game remaining Englishman Damien popped up with a commanding header to give Rovers a 2 -1 lead. But with just 10 minutes left on the clock, Taradale equalized and then quickly went ahead as the Blues looked like crumbling.
But Damien popped up to score his second via a free-kick that evaded all and snuck in the far post to finish the game 3-3.
Ultimately disappointed with not getting the three points, Coach Jerome Brown says they will settle for the draw.
“Mistakes and unlucky goals has been the story so far of our season. In both games we have conceded goals that perhaps, we feel, we should not have,: says Brown,
"But with a few new faces in key positions, hopefully with more game time together, our results will improve and we will start ascending the table.”
Thirsty Whale NCR Masters have yet to pick up a point after a disappointing start to the season.They went down 3-1 to Havelock North mercenaries at home, followed by a 3-0 defeat by Havelock at Guthrie Park a week later.
The Ladies lost 3-0 against Eskview Blues in their first game of the season. Coach Rob Bower said the team played well and he is hopeful that with more time to gel, performances will improve as the season progresses.
Good luck to all the teams as they enter Round 3 this weekend.
There's a smorgasbord of home games to chose from. Don't miss the action.
See you on the sidelines.
C'mon You Blues!