Cambridge could wrap up the titles for football’s WaiBOP Premiership and Championship next weekend if results go their way. The Reds can sew up the Championship title with a win against lowly Matamata Swifts at John Kerkhof Park on Saturday, kicking off at 12.30pm.
Immediately after, the first team can clinch the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership crown with a win against Rotorua United who currently sit third from bottom in the competition. However to take the title on the day, Cambridge need rivals Waikato Unicol and Matamata Swifts to slip up in their games against Otumoetai and Tauranga Old Blues respectively.
Even so, Cambridge can make sure of the title a week later in the local derby at Te Awamutu. Cambridge’s apparent stranglehold on the two titles – the highest competitions in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty region – follow two wins at John Kerkhof Park last Saturday.
A 3-0 win against Tauranga Boys College has given Cambridge’s first team a six-point lead in the Premiership. Cambridge comfortably won despite a scrappy performance, marked by wasted chances and youthful opponents who never stopped chasing.
Not known for fast starts, Cambridge took a fifth-minute lead when Andrew Taylor crossed from wide for Callum MacLeod to control and score from an angle. The teams went into half-time with the score 1-0 but Cambridge took control of the result with a second goal after 52 minutes when Tom Woutersen struck a sweet cross for Jordan Silvester to convert from close in.
Ten minutes later, the match was as good as over when Cambridge’s Kieran Hill fired a ball hard and low into the crowded Tauranga area. Remarkably, everyone missed it and the ball sneaked into the far corner of the net for his first goal of the season.
As Cambridge celebrated their win, news arrived that nearest rivals Waikato Unicol had lost 2-1 at home to Matamata Swifts. To be sure of winning the title, Cambridge need to win two of their three remaining games.
In the WaiBOP Championship a 4-3 win by Cambridge against nearest rivals Tauranga City United increased the gap to seven points at the top of the table. Leading goalscorer James Cakebread scored Cambridge’s first goal in the 27th minute. Striker Adam Brady (43rd minute), Jason Szabo (58th) and Levi Clark (72nd) added Cambridge’s others and the side were in control, leading 4-2 with five minutes to go. However the experienced Tauranga side found a late goal and the home side had to withstand a frantic finish before being certain of the points. Player of the Day was Avi Kumar. The win extended the team’s unbeaten run to seven games.