The Edgecumbe Domain was done up to the best state possible for a special game on Saturday. Plains Rangers were hosting Taupo in the Chatham Cup. This was only the third time Rangers had entered the nation-wide knockout cup, which was celebrating its 100th year. Taupo, who play three grades above Rangers, were hot favourites to win and had the bonus of the wind and showers at their backs in the first half. However, Rangers almost gave them a fright in the first minute when Phil Ballingall got put through to get off a shot at goal. Taupo then settled into their pattern of play, but Rangers sat back and kept their formation tight. When the visitors did manage to break through the defences, Christian Wetting, back playing in goal for this game, was in great form. He was quickly off his line to deal with through-balls and was typically dominant in the air. Rangers held on to be 0 – 0 at half time.
After the break Taupo almost scored straight away, a strong shot hitting the woodwork. However, their constructive play did have reward ten minutes in, when their striker was fouled in the box and they were awarded a penalty. This was put away well. Rangers then had nothing to lose and pushed forward when they could. Ballingall ran hard up front and got on the end of several moves. Hamish Wilde and Jimmy Hart combined well in the centre midfield and looked to create. With ten minutes left, Shane Baillie sent in a good cross that almost found Ballingall at the far post, but it was cleared. With time running out, Taupo made the game safe with a well-hit shot from distance that found the corner of the goal. The final score Rangers 0, Taupo 2; meaning Taupo will progress to the next round.
Rangers will be proud of their efforts, having made life very difficult for their visitors and staying in the game till the final whistle. Christian Wetting was named player of the day. He was closely followed by Wilde and centre defenders Jon Barnes and Sam McPherson, who were all outstanding. The game was played in good spirit and was well refereed by Stuart Blake.
Rangers will be back to a BOP division two game this Saturday, at home to Tauranga City Juggernauts.