Plains Rangers AFC

26 September 2020
Miller Cup Plains Rangers 3rd place

On Saturday Plains Rangers, along with fourteen other BOP division one and two teams, took part in the Miller Cup and Bowl tournament at Otumoetai. The Cup is usually contested throughout the season, but with covid restrictions, it was played as a one-day tournament this year. The sun streamed down on the teams with first round winners staying in the Cup and losers contesting the Bowl. Rangers, who finished third in division two, took on division one Waiariki in the first round.
Midway through the first half, striker Phil Ballingall found space to turn and hit a half volley into the net. Rangers, playing good football, kept the pressure on their opponents and secured the 1 – 0 win.
Rangers were pitted against another division one team in the second round, neighbours Kawerau Sports. This was a fiercely contested game, with Kawerau putting a lot of pressure on Rangers when they had possession. However, the lower division team hung in the game well and had their fair share of attacks. Rangers captain James Hart put the cat among the pigeons midway through the first half. Spotting the Kawerau keeper off his line, Hart launched a strike from 25 metres that sailed over the keeper into the top of the goal. Kawerau tried hard to come back but Rangers fought hard to maintain their lead and took the game 1 – 0.
Rangers were paired in the semifinal against Tauranga City's champion division two side. Tauranga City settled into the game quickly and got and early goal after finding a gap in the Rangers defence. After that the high quality game seesawed back and forth as Rangers tried to find an equaliser. Christian Wetting, playing out on the field had a couple of well hit long range strikes saved. Kaleb Muggeridge made some excellent weaving runs down the line and had a close-range shot saved, but Tauranga City hung onto their lead to win 1 – 0. They went on to win the final 2 – 0 against Tauranga Old Blues. Rangers claimed third place over Papamoa's division one team, who failed to front up for the game.
This capped off a pleasing season for Plains Rangers, following on from the strong results and placing in the league. It was a sign of the club's spirit that a good contingent of the Rangers women's team was supporting their men throughout the day.