Mon, Apr 8, 2024 11:01 AM

Suburbs side snatches tournament title


Peter Jones

Competition was close and skill levels high during the annual John Columbus senior men’s football tournament at A&P Park on Saturday.

Each side played six 40-minute matches in a round-robin format at the event designed to provide some early pre-season football, while remembering John Columbus, a Marlborough footballing stalwart.

The tournament title this year heads west, with the Nelson Suburbs SPL Reserves side going unbeaten. Their round six match, against similarly-unbeaten Rangers AFC, proved pivotal, the visitors from over the hill prevailing 1-0 to establish a slight edge at the end of proceedings.

Kane Elvy, from the Rangers AFC side, runs into space.

In third place was the cosmopolitan Los Andes FC side, followed by Renegades, Suburbs Colts, Rangers Reserves and Central Buccaneers.

Senior football will kick off on Saturday.

Leading the way on the local front will be the Rangers AFC side, who will again take on the best players from over the hill in the Nelson division one competition.

Last season Rangers finished a narrow second and will be keen to get back on top of the heap this time around.

They have assembled a solid squad, a mixture of youth and experience, containing plenty of players with extensive division one pedigree.

Elijah O'Donnell, from the Rangers Reserves side, sends in a cross.

Tore Waechter will again fill the role of player/coach, the talented midfielder or defender bringing both leadership and mentoring to the mix.

Rangers open their season with a tough test at home, taking on the highly-rated Nelson Suburbs SPL Reserves, a side containing several players with Mainland League experience who they lost to in the above-mentioned pre-season tournament.

Rangers will field have a similar squad to last season’s crew.

Their initial squad contains a few players who may not be available for every match or the entire programme, meaning there is a good chance they may have to call on players from the Rangers Reserves side.

The return of previous Rangers’ standouts Jono Masters and Sam Hickmott will strengthen the side, as will the arrival of Jo Lewis and Cam Blair, two players new to the region.

The Los Andes side brought some South American skills to the mix.

The Rangers AFC initial squad: Jordan Columbus, Callum McDonald, Tore Waechter, Keagan Mortimer, Luc Sherwood, Jack Morris, Bjorn Waechter, Kane Elvy, Boyd Elvy, Guy Nolan, Scott Belsham, Cameron Blair, Sam Hickmott, Sverre Waechter, Jono Masters, Aaron Hayes, Joseph Lewis.

Also in the division one grade this season are Richmond, FC Nelson Karenni and FC Nelson, Tahuna, Golden Bay and Motueka.

Meanwhile, five teams will contest the Marlborough division one title.

In week one, Central Wolves will play Trojans, while Central Buccaneers will meet the new kids on the block, Blenheim Valley Los Cafeteros, a side comprising players of Colombian, Ronhingyan and Argentinian origin.

The fifth side, Rangers Reserves, have a bye on Saturday.

Eight teams make up division two.

On Saturday, Rangers City play Trojans Spartans, Central Privateers meet Trojans Reds, Rangers Masters tackle BV Masters while Picton Crow Tavern play Trojans Strikers.

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