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Douglas Villa close in on promotion

Island Bay 2
Douglas Villa 3

Tumu Douglas Villa are close to winning promotion to Capital Division One after their 3-2 win away to Island Bay United Thirds on Sunday.

With nearest rivals, third-placed Seatoun, losing on Saturday, that opened the door for Douglas Villa, and they delivered with the win moving them six points clear of Seatoun with a game in hand.

Douglas Villa only need four points from their last three games to secure promotion, although coach Mark Taylor said the team are taking nothing for granted and are determined to finish on a high and set down a marker for next season, regardless of what division they are playing in. The Masterton-based team have no chance of catching unbeaten leaders Wellington Marist, who are 11 points clear, needing one point to wrap up the league title.

Villa went into Sunday’s match at a wet and windy Wakefield Park, Wellington, with several key players missing, including inspirational captain and experienced defender Chris Cox, midfielders Simon Mazey and Kurtis Paine, and goalkeeper Ben Burnley.

Liam Gale was rewarded for his recent good form with the opening goal after 32 minutes with a long-distance screamer. Matchday captain Caleb Anstis doubled the lead with a scrambled goal from a set piece early in the second half, only for the home side to close the gap to one goal midway through the spell.

A typical Josh McMenamin goal, where he used his pace to get past the defence and then beat the goalkeeper
with a good finish, restored Villa’s two-goal advantage, although an 89th-minute strike from Island Bay led to a nervy finish.

Taylor was rapt to pick up the valuable three points, saying that although it wasn’t their best performance, it was a gutsy effort by the understrength team against difficult opponents.

Taylor named Josh Logan, who he believes to be the best left back in the league, as the man of the match, while Tremaine Rimene-Albrett was a constant threat to the opposition defence with his powerful runs and fill-in goalkeeper Cory Burling did all that was asked of him.

Villa should move within a point of promotion on Saturday when they host bottom-of-the-table Tawa Reserves, who have had only one win.

Greyfriars Greytown’s push for promotion from Capital Division Three was put on hold with their top-of-the-table clash against leaders Upper Hutt City deferred because of the sodden ground at Soldier’s Memorial Park.

Greytown face a crucial clash on Saturday at home to fourth-placed Petone U20s. A win is vital, with Wellington United only two points behind in the race for second place, although Greytown have a game in hand.

Wellington United Opals 1
Wairarapa United 3

Vanessa Taylor was the toast of Wairarapa United, scoring a brilliant hat-trick in a vital win away to Wellington United Opals on Sunday.

The win gave United a one-point lead in Wellington Women’s Division One, with a game in hand on their nearest rivals, the Opals and Victoria University.

The Opals took an early lead with a goal after eight minutes before Taylor got in on the action, equalising in the first half before adding her second and third goals in the second stanza.

United captain Holly Rausch said all three of Taylor’s goals were brilliant efforts, coming from phenomenal solo runs.

The win continued United’s unbeaten start to the second round, in contrast to their first-round effort, where they finished mid-table, with the return of Rausch to the heart of defence adding more solidity and experience.

United are at home to Ōtaki Kaeaea, who were promoted from division two at the end of the first round.

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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