Plains Rangers women continued their unbeaten start to the new football season in BOP division one. Following on from their 5 – 0 win last week, Rangers women travelled to play Tauranga Blue Rovers on Sunday. Rangers opened the scoring early when Kiahli Ibbetson found space out wide, brought the ball in and scored. In an even battle, Rangers had two more chances to go ahead in the first half. Ranee Whiting hit the woodwork with a decent shot and, late in the half, right back Amber McKenzie hit a great strike from 40 metres that the Tauranga keeper did well to keep out.
Rangers led 1 – 0 at half time, however, the home team made a strong start to the second half. They scored with a fine shot from 20 metres and then took the lead with another goal soon after. However, Rangers weathered the storm and started to produce threats of their own. Midway through the half, good work from Samantha Burr created another chance for Ibbetson and she scored. Both teams pushed for the winner, but the final score of 2 – 2 was probably a fair reflection of the game.
Mikaela Mathis's calm work in the midfield earned her player of the day, with Ibbetson and defenders Laura Powick and Tara Edwards also in top form.
On Saturday Plains Rangers men hosted their first game back at the old hunting ground of the Edgecumbe Domain. The visitors were the experienced Taupo team and a very competitive game developed. There were plenty of individual battles and also some good team football. Taupo used the strong breeze at their backs in the first half and launched plenty of high balls into Rangers territory. Taupo won a corner from one of these attacks, and despite Rangers' protests that the corner had swung out over the goal line before coming back in again, they scored after the ball was knocked back across goal from the far post.
Rangers tried hard to pull the goal back, with Petir Gray and Sam Christieson the most prominent, but the score remained Plains Rangers 0, Taupo 1.
Jamaal James was named player of the day after a committed display in defence. Midfielders Jason Pullar and Husnul Gray also impressed.
Rangers have been hit by several injuries in the first weeks of the season, and will have to try and round up a team for a scheduled game against Rotorua on Easter Saturday.