Old Boys are champions
Melville Old Boys have won the Waikato 4th Division by a margin of four points, completing a season in which they won 11 of their 14 matches with a 3-0 home victory over Northern United Gaffers.
Clinching the title led to cash register-filling celebrations at Gower Park, as the Old Boys partied like the teenagers they think they are.
Melville club captain Phil Wheatley attributed success to fine leadership from coaches Todd Nasmith and Phil Stark, and to strikers Shane Comber and Darby Junior, who both hit double figures during the season.
But he failed to mention the Old Boys’ uncanny knack of once again selecting the right division to contest, and they will no doubt be eyeing up the fifth division next year.
The team has also been kept in good health by the signing of two Irish doctors from Waikato Hospital, Paddy McCarthy and Dan Coffey. And the experienced Bouma twins, Merv and Wytse, have also been playing this season.
Goals against Northern came from an own goal, Darby Junior and a stunning first striker from Scott Clark, whose football has gained a whole new lease on life since becoming the club’s latest administrative star in taking over as club secretary.
An equally important key to league success was beating Wanderers Sports Club 4-0 a week earlier. Goals from Ben Wheatley, Comber, Darby Junior and Stu Timings got Melville home, while man of the match was Lance Bauerfeind, who completed his first full 90 minutes of the season.
Bauerfeind rated this Div 4 league win on a par with winning the Chatham Cup with Waikato United in 1988. “It was actually easier in ‘88 because everybody could still run, jump and tackle back then,” he said.
Meanwhile Melville Nobs came from behind to beat Mighty Melville Bs 4-2 and finish second in Waikato Div 1.
The Mighty Bs finished third, three points behind, but rocked the Nobs by opening the scoring with a sublime diving header from Rob “The Banker” Dunnigan. It caught the Nobs unawares, after they had concluded early that he was never going to score with either foot
Nobs guest player Luke Searle equalised in the second half, but the Bs again took the lead before Subesh Naidu fortuitously levelled with a free kick, and Avi Raju put the Nobs ahead with a fine far post finish. Somebody else also scored, but nobody was paying any attention by then.
Melville Premier Women lost 2-0 at home to W-League champions Waiariki.