Loaded WaiBOP Premiership leaders, Cambridge, were the big winners after a weather smashed weekend in the region’s top local league.
The red and whites picked up a comfortable 4-1 home win over relegation-threatened Rotorua United, while their nearest rivals were forced to sit out as the weather strike forced all the games in the Bay of Plenty to be postponed. The outcome is that Cambridge now need only one win from their final two games to be assured of the title, although due to their vastly superior goal difference a point will surely be enough.
First half goals from Tom Woutersen, Patrick Woodlock, Josh Clarkin and Callum MacLeod set Cambridge on their way on Saturday and, while Rotorua nabbed a consolation after the break, the result was never in any doubt. Rotorua had looked threatening on occasion during the first half but they left themselves far too wide open at the back and the clinical home side took advantage to keep their long unbeaten run going.
Unicol and Comag Matamata Swifts are now the only two sides mathematically capable of catching Cambridge. In Unicol’s case they can only draw level on points but would need to significantly boost their goal difference, while Matamata, with games in hand, would need to win them all. All this, of course, relies on Cambridge suddenly collapsing and losing their final couple of matches which seems highly unlikely.
In the only other Premiership match that went ahead, Taupo smashed Edmonds Judd Te Awamutu 4-0 at Crown Park. Taupo had a wretched run of form through the middle of the season, but a couple of wins in a row has moved them into the top five. Joe O’Donoghue with two, Ben Murray and Fin Smith scored the goals that consigned the visitors to yet another defeat that has seen them sink to eighth after holding a top four spot earlier in the season.
It was a good day all round for the Cambridge club as their Reserves (pictured above) wrapped up the WaiBOP Championship title with a 2-0 home victory over Richardson Racing Stables Matamata Reserves.
Two first half long range strikes from James Cakebread set Cambridge on their way in a match that was a reasonable spectacle despite the conditions. Both teams resisted the urge to go long and held possession well. Cambridge, as would be expected given the two teams’ respective league positions, always looked in enough control , however, to secure the result they needed.
Tokoroa dropped points in the only other Championship match that went ahead, being held to a 3-3 draw at mid-table Te Puke United. Lance Johnson’s hat trick for Te Puke meant the hosts recovered from a two goal half time deficit after goals from Logan Allen, Connor Wood and Cameron Johnstone seemingly had Tokoroa on track for an important win.
The race for second is intriguing, with up to five teams still in with a shout of securing the next promotion slot. Only four points separate Hamilton Wanderers in second and Tauranga City United in sixth.
Full match details here.