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Coaches cautious for start of season

DOUGLAS VILLA

To quote an old sports cliche, new Tumu Douglas Villa coach Mark Taylor is taking his first season in charge of the Capital Division Two side “game by game”.

The vastly experienced Taylor, 60, brings more than 30 years of coaching nous to the role from the National League to youth and juniors. Included in his impressive resume is leading Wairarapa United to promotion to the Capital Premier Division in 2001, which at the time was the top division.

Villa kick-off their 2023 campaign tomorrow away against Lower Hutt City, with Taylor’s expectation of victory over the club where he spent eight years coaching.

“We’re trying to nail down some real consistency, and we don’t want to go out and say we’re going to do this and we’re going to do that,” Taylor said.

“It’s about getting some combinations and players getting used to playing together and getting our structures right and knowing how we’re going to play.

“The team scored lots of goals last season, and there are goals in a lot of the players in the team, but defensively we really need to tighten up and make it difficult for teams to play against us so that we’re always in games. If it’s tight, we want to get to the last 10 minutes and be competitive and be able to scratch out those tight games with those players who can be matchwinners.”

Taylor felt that Villa’s preseason buildup playing in the Hilton Petone Cup Division Two produced some good performances, including a 1-0 win over the Waterside Karori reserves, who play in Capital Premier.

Former Central League player Chris Cox will again captain the side, which features most of last season’s squad, plus the acquisition of some useful players.

Tremaine Albrett-Rimene returns to the club after spending last season at Miramar Rangers, where he made some Central League appearances. Big and strong, Albrett-Rimene poses a threat on attack and is a lethal dead ball exponent.

Reuben Thirsk-Yates is a midfielder who has played at a useful level in Auckland, while new goalkeeper Ben Burnley from Miramar is out for the early games after breaking a hand at the recent police national tournament. Sam Dale will keep goal for the first few games.

Simon Mazey, Shea Fowler, and Caleb Anstis have returned to the club after playing for Carterton in 2022.

Andrew Cox, Kurtis Paine, and prolific goalscorer Josh McMenamin are others Taylor expects to have a major influence.

Tomorrow’s clash with Lower Hutt City kicks off at Fraser Park at the early time of 12.30pm.

GREYTOWN

Greyfriars Motel Greytown kick-off in Capital Division Three confident of a good showing after their late promotion from the fourth division.

Despite only being confirmed for the division in recent weeks and a less-than-anticipated preseason where the side only played intra-club games, the team are ready for the rigours of a season in the higher division.

The Phil Keinzley-coached side were let down by three prospective preseason opponents but had to settle for games against a combination of team reserves and the Wairarapa Local League division one side Greytown Tremains for on-field action.

After the loss of some of their younger players from 2022, Greytown recruited well, and along with former Napier City Rovers attacker and Keinzley’s new assistant, Josh Stevenson, the club has picked up three players from Masterton Athletic – brothers Rhys and Gareth Gwyther, and forward Landon Palmer.

The club has also retained flying fullback Max Mitchell who, after a flirtation with Central League club Petone, decided the grass was greener on the northern side of the Remutaka Hill.

Greytown’s first Capital Three action is against Naenae, who finished mid-table in 2022 after relegation from Capital Two the previous season. The clash will be a good gauge of where the ambitious home side sit in the higher division.

Kick-off tomorrow is at 2.30pm at Greytown’s Soldiers Memorial Park.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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