Three weeks without a game or training, due to the recent cyclones, meant SLH Contracting Plains Rangers were up against it when hosting league leaders Tauranga City on Saturday. In ironically beautiful conditions, with a back drop of fallen trees, both teams started out well. The visitors played with their combinations working well, testing out the Rangers defence. Rangers got a few combinations working well too, with Hamish Wilde and Jordan Ogilvy in particular causing them problems with their passing and speed. Rangers defence, marshalled by player of the day Aaron Muggeridge held their shape well. However, after thirty minutes Tauranga City were getting the upper hand. One of their strikers was brought down in the box and the resultant penalty was converted well. Unfortunately for Rangers, two of their midfield, Wilde and Petir Gray, went down injured before half time, and Tauranga City were able to ramp up the pressure. At the break the score was Rangers 0, Tauranga 1.
Rangers played with heart in the second half, but the visitors dominated possession. Rangers' best chance came when substitute Ranui Renata put in a good cross from the right and striker Andy Willis headed it just over the bar. Two goals in the final ten minutes saw the score blow out to 3 – 0 in the end.
Tauranga City deserved their win, but were generous in praise for the Rangers team and the plains community. For Rangers it was good to be back on the pitch. While Aaron Muggeridge was player of the day, others to shine included Ali Scott, Jordan Ogilvy and Levi Riri.
On Sunday Rangers women were at home to Kawerau. Kawerau scored early and then Rangers held them out till quite late in the half before the visitors added to the score. Rangers had quite a few attacks, with their best spell early in the second half. Player of the day Kiahli Ibbetson had a strong shot which was well saved by the Kawerau keeper; the rebound was blasted onto the crossbar and then cleared to safety. Ibbetson's breaks down the wing gave Rangers a lot of impetus. Others to impress were defender Sarah Boyce and midfielder Michaela Mathis. In the end, Kawerau won 5 – 0.
This Saturday Rangers men are away to Ngongotaha, while on Sunday Rangers women have a local derby at Whakatane Town.