Mission accomplished for Melville U-19s
Melville have finished runners-up in the satellite tournament at the Napier U-19 tournament and earned a place in next year’s main draw.
They were beaten 3-1 in the final by Onehunga Sports, who were bolstered by Max Mata returning from Wellington Phoenix to score all three goals in the final. Marc Glenister scored for Melville.
But making the final was enough to qualify for the main draw next year, and that was the primary aim of the campaign.
It was another resounding success for Melville coach Merv Williams, who this year coached Melville Reserves to the northern premier reserve league title.
“Mission accomplished,” Williams said. “Main draw here we come. It was disappointing to lose the final, but we had burned everything to make sure we got there.
“We’ve drawn on players from four Melville teams and established a very good team spirit with everyone playing for a common cause, and without any attitudes or egos.”
New first team co-coach Sam Wilkinson was on hand to watch Melville’s progress and was delighted with what he saw.
“The boys did very well, and played with skill and structure,”Wilkinson said. “I was more than confident that had they been in the main draw they would have reached the knockout stages. They would not have been out of place at all in the top echelon.”
He said it was never easy in making the final, even in the satellite tournament.
“But Melville navigated their way there, and did so with style.”
Wilkinson said it had been an excellent weekend for familiarising himself with Melville’s up-and-coming players, with an eye on next year’s first team squad.
“Obviously there were 2-3 that I was aware of already, but there were also a few more that were not initially on my radar who have put their hand up at Napier, which shows the value of such tournaments.”
Earlier Melville beat Napier Marist 2-0 in the semifinals, thanks to two goals from Liam Steffert.