Steady rain didn't dampen the mood or the form for Gary
Fowell Builders Plains Rangers on Saturday.
Rangers traveled to play Old Blues at Welcome Bay and adjusted quickly
to the skidding ball. Early in the game Cameron Wills, playing his last
game for Rangers, took off on a solo run, beating several players before
putting his shot just wide of the goal. It was a signal that Rangers were
up for the game. They settled into a good pattern of football, testing
out the home defence and creating chances. The Rangers defence combined
very well as a unit and snuffed out the home team's efforts. Ben McPherson
hit the Old Blues post, Ben Howe had a shot luckily smothered by the keeper
managing to sit on it, and so the chances came and went. At half time
coach Aaron Muggeridge told his players to stay patient and keep playing
the ball around.
After the break Rangers continued to control the game, and eventually
the pressure told. A long shot from McPherson got past the well performed
Old Blues keeper to open the scoring. With the conditions making the game
more of a lottery, a narrow lead was never comfortable. Wills went close
in a one-on-one, but the keeper made a brave save. Midway through the
half Richie Nillesen was put through and he managed to slot the ball past
the advancing keeper before the pair collided, forcing Nillesen off injured.
The home team tried to up the ante, but Jono Whitaker, Jeremy Hawkes,
Jeff Krause and player of the day Ben Fretwell were just too strong in
defence. The final score was Old Blues 0, Plains Rangers 2.
This kept Rangers unbeaten start to the season going, but they will be
well tested this week, with the long trip to Taupo always a difficult
task. Rangers will miss the lively wing play of Cameron Wills as he heads
south. On the positive side, was the return of Jordan Ogilvy, who always
makes a contribution with his strong running down the line.
In the BOP women's league, Gary Fowell Builders Plains
Rangers were away to Rotorua United. Injuries meant Rangers only had eleven
players available. For the first twenty minutes, Rangers passed the ball
around well and held their own, a sign of continuing improvement. Rotorua
eventually wore them down, and won the game 11 - 0. A strong performance
from Jess Bailey, who put in some good tackles, saw her named player of