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Promotion goal for Douglas Villa

The retirement of Troy Burling, left, leaves a big hole in the Douglas Villa team. PHOTO/FILE

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Earning promotion is the aim for GasPro Douglas Villa in their return to the Capital Football Leagues after a four-year hiatus.

Douglas Villa won promotion to Capital Division Four last year, under the name DV Magpies, winning all 15 games in the Wairarapa Local League and then defeating Otaki Purutaitama from the Horowhenua-Kapiti League in a promotion playoff game.

When last in the capital leagues, Douglas Villa started in Capital Three and progressed to Capital Two before dropping out and returning to the local league.

“Looking at what we achieved last time. Capital Three was okay, and Capital Two was a lot quicker and more physical,” coach Dan Pawson said.

“We have a good mix of experience and youth, with guys who had played at Capital Two and Three, and some young guys who have come in from their college First XIs in our wider training squad,” he said.

“We have no idea what the opposition will be like, but we will be looking at promotion.”

A big loss for the side is the retirement of influential midfielder Troy Burling, who has had to call a stop to his playing career after struggling with a serious knee injury through most of last season.

Promising youngster Josh Logan will also miss most of the season.

“Josh is down at Wanaka at the flight training school, and he will come back and play during the school holidays,” Pawson said.

The coach is confident his team is in the right space to kick off their season with a win over Western Suburbs at Endeavour Park, Whitby on Saturday.

“Obviously, everyone is as keen as since lockdown. We had been training really well leading up to the lockdown, and since we’ve been back, we’re getting good numbers and I’m happy how we’ve been training.”

A win over Wests would extend Douglas Villa’s unbeaten run to 38 games, stretching back to April 2018.

The Wairarapa Local Leagues will also kick-off on Saturday, with six teams in each of the first and second divisions, while seven teams will line up in Division Three.

With the move of the top Douglas Villa team to Capital Four, the top division looks wide open.

JT Plastering Masterton Athletic are traditionally one of the strongest sides in the league. They will start their campaign in a local derby against Ziggy’s Glass Masterton Presidents, who return after missing last year.

Wairarapa United Social finished second in the third round in 2019 and will play Carterton.

Greytown Fresh Choice are sure to be well-drilled under the coaching of former Wairarapa United Central League coach Phil Keinzley. They play Douglas Villa Fall Protect in their opener.

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