Melville back in action at Napier (updated)

UPDATE: Melville failed to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Napier U19 tournament after stumbling to a loss and a draw in their final two group games at Park Island.

Melville lost 0-1 to Island Bay then drew 2-2 with Upper Hutt City to finish third in their group, two points behind Cashmere Technical, who they had earlier beaten 1-0.

It left them having lost just one of their five group matches.

UPDATE: Melville U19s finished the first day’s play at Napier Tournament top of their group after a 1-1 draw with Glenfield Rovers in their 3pm match. Both teams scored from the penalty spot, with Lachie McIsaac potting his third goal from three games for Melville. Melville have 7 points, 2 clear of Glenfield Rovers, with Cashmere Technical and Island Bay a further point back. Melville face Island Bay at 9am in their first match on Sunday.

UPDATE: Melville have made a promising start to the Napier U19 tournament with two wins out of two. Melville beat Fencibles 3-1, with goals from Quest Tipping, Lachie McIsaac and Raukawa Raynel. And a late goal from skipper McIsaac gave Melville a 1-0 win over Cashmere Technical.

FRIDAY…
Melville return to the main draw at Napier U19 National Tournament for the first time in a generation at Labour Weekend, with group games against Glenfield Rovers, Cashmere Technical, Fencibles United, Island Bay United and Upper Hutt City.

Melville finished runners-up in the satellite tournament last year (team picture above) to earn a recall to the top 24 for 2017, and will be looking to build on that momentum, with Sam Wilkinson and Michael Mayne taking the coaching helm this year.

The first-up clash with Fencibles is particularly enticing, with Sam’s father, Roger Wilkinson, the opposing coach. Wilkinson senior is credited with having founded the tournament over 30 years ago.

“I’m looking forward it,”Sam said. “It will definitely be a game for the purists with both teams looking to dominate the ball. 

“Bragging rights over the family Christmas dinner are up for grabs – I’ll make sure the players know there’s a lot riding on that game.”

Melville’s squad has been weakened slightly by the fact Flynn O’Brien (Wanderers Sports Club) and Liam Hayes (Hawke’s Bay United) have since earned places in national league squads this weekend, but there is still plenty of travelling talent, with first team regulars including skipper Lachie McIsaac and Liam Steffert. Other Melville squad players who had first team game time in 2017 are Logan Wisnewski, Joel McMullan, keeper Keegan Hansen and Thomas “Likeable” Mouncher. Reserves player of the year, Sok Ven, also returns along with a host of Reserves team mates.

Sam Wilkinson said losing O’Brien and Hayes to the summer league was actually a positive for the club.

“It’s great that we’ve been able to help them break into the National League at such a young age,” he said. “We are still taking a talented group of players to the tournament, and while it is hard to gauge where other teams will be at, we should be more than competitive in every match.”

Melville have pulled in three guest players – Sedy Baroky, Harry Rose and Dilan Nanayakkara. 

“We only wanted to bring in Hamilton-based guest players as we believe it’s a bit counter productive bringing in players from outside the region just for the tournament itself. 

“Sedy, Dilan and Harry are all players that we’ve spoken to about signing for the club next season, they’ve fitted in really to the group and we are really keen to continue working wiht them next season.”

Meanwhile co-coach Michael Mayne said Merv Williams and Wytse Bouma had done a fantastic job in 2016 to get Melville back in the main draw.

“It’s been really important to be able to offer our young players the chance to compete for Melville in the main competition again<" Mayne said. "The Napier tournament is still the Premier U19 competition in the country and it is an opportunity for our players to measure their progress over the year against the country's best young players.  "Preparation has been a little bit disrupted with players being involved in National League, National Youth League and Waibop Futsal squads.  But we've worked hard to maximise the time we have had with the players and we're lucky that the majority of the group has been working with us all season." Melville’s 2017 Napier U19 squad: Lachie McIsaac (captain), Sedy Baroky, Logan Wisnewski, Joel McMullam, Liam Steffert, Raukawa Raynel, Matt Shaw, Dilan Nanayakkara, Sok Ven, Quest Tipping, Harry Coulson, Jamie Searle, Keegan Hansen, Marc Glenister, Thomas Mouncher, Ernest Pidoke, Harry Rose.

Melville group draw schedule:

Saturday:

9am v Fencibles
12noon v Cashmere Technical
3pm v Glenfield Rovers

Sunday:
9am v Island Bay
12 noon v Upper Hutt City

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