Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers

September 3, Sponsors Cup: Whakatane 1sts 2 Plains Rangers men 0

Women Bay One: Plains Rangers 0 Whakatane 9

A good crowd turned out for the annual Sponsors' Cup challenge between Pullar Builders Whakatane Town and Gary Fowell Builders Plains Rangers on Saturday.
Rangers started the game strongly with some well constructed attacks. Nestor Rocha and Jaiden Ibbetson were prominent, with Thomas Davison linking the moves together. After twenty minutes they were close to some reward when a terrific pass from player of the day Davison put Rangers' skipper Ben McPherson through on goal, but his shot went narrowly wide. Whakatane responded quickly. Lively winger Wade Maloney did the damage down his wing and a scramble ensued in the Rangers goal area, with an own goal resulting. Whakatane picked up their game following the goal and played some good football through their midfield. Rangers held them out though and at half time, with only one goal in it, the game was still in the balance.
After the break Whakatane dominated for fifteen minutes, and it took some terrific defence, especially from centre back Jeff Krause and a solid display from keeper Adam Mayor to keep them out. The game then evened out again. McPherson went close with a header at the far post. With fifteen minutes to go Whakatane scored again, and held onto their lead to win 2 - 0.
This was a very entertaining game and a great tribute to the teams, referee Ian Finch and the sponsors.
This Saturday Rangers men have their final league game, at home to Old Blues. Old Blues have been in great form in the second half of the season, so it should be an exciting match.
Whakatane Town and Plains Rangers women's teams played their final league game as the curtain raiser. The crowd enjoyed this game too, which was far less one-sided than the final 9 - 0 score indicates. Whakatane took twenty minutes to score the opening goal. Rangers had several useful attacks, forcing some corners, and Hayley Warner went close with a couple of powerful shots. Late in the half Whakatane scored a flurry of goals to have a 5 - 0 lead. In the second half, Rangers against started well. Player of the day Ann-Elise Reynolds worked hard in the midfield, while at the back Kayla Benner did well to stifle a lot of the Whakatane play. Late in the game too, Whakatane scored several times to blow the score out. But it did show the improvement Rangers women have made over their debut season, halving the score from the first time the teams met.