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The trophy that won’t stay put

FOOTBALL

WAINUI Beach School yesterday reclaimed the Iain Gillies Challenge Trophy they lost to Mangapapa School last year.

It was history repeating itself. In 2019, Wainui had taken the trophy off Mangapapa.

Wainui, competing as Wainui Thunder, swept all before them in the Saturday morning Primary A Grade football competition this year. At Mangapapa School yesterday they regained the challenge trophy with a 5-1 win.

This was a rebuilding year for Mangapapa, who played in the Saturday competition as Mangapapa Hurricanes. Last year they were the dominant team, but the cyclical nature of primary school football meant the balance of power shifted.

“Before the game the kids were really nervous,” said Larisa Mahns-Allan, who coaches the Wainui team with the help of Talya Calcott.

“The game was postponed about five times. They thought that because of Covid they wouldn’t be able to play. Everyone was really excited.”

Their nerves were settled by the first goal, after eight minutes. Bramm Jerome hit a low cross from the right. In the goalmouth scramble that followed, Neko Dalton got the vital touch to make it 1-0.

Five minutes later, right-winger-cum-striker Jaxon Allan turned up on the left, took on a few players, cut back on to his right foot on the edge of the penalty area and hit the inside of the far-post side-netting with his shot . . . 2-0.

Mangapapa striker Xavier Kohere pulled a goal back when he met a cross from the right with a first-time finish that made it 2-1.

Wainui went further ahead when Charlotte McDiarmid advanced down the right and pulled the ball back from the byline for Harry Gardiner to finish with a first-time shot from eight metres.

It was 3-1 at the break.

Managapapa changed the guard at halftime. Skipper Rori Fukushima-Hall had been in goal for the first half and went into midfield for the second. First-half leftback Reef West-Hill became second-half goalkeeper.

Midway through the half, Allan crossed from the right, slicing across the ball with the outside of his right foot so that the ball curled in at the far post . . . 4-1.

Five minutes from the end — the game comprised two 30-minute halves — Jerome crossed from the left to McDiarmid. She controlled the ball and, from 10 metres out, fired in the last goal of the game.

Primary school teams regularly have to rebuild

It was a good all-round football performance from Wainui. Allan kept up a stream of crosses, and McDiarmid did well, starting in defence and moving into attack in the second half.

Left-footed winger Harry McFarlane and striker Tre-Leon Peachey, with his quick feet and tidy touches, also shone going forward.

In defence, leftbacks Hunter Huhu and West-Hill, rightback Cory Land and centreback Arthur Tilghman kept the ship steady.

Fukushima-Hall, when he moved into midfield, was a powerhouse.

Mangapapa coach Chris Adams said a core of players were outstanding for his team. Taylor Kijowski in midfield, Calais Johnson in defence or midfield, and Leeroy Julies in midfield gave their all.

Mangapapa had won the league and the challenge trophy last year but this year they had only three Year 6 (Standard 4) players in their team. The rest were from years 4 and 5.

They had suffered a heavy loss to Wainui early in the season but had improved. He could only hope those players would return next year.

Mahns-Allan said this year’s Wainui team had won all their games, usually by big margins, but next year only Tilghman and McFarlane would be returning.

They had some strong players coming through, but it would still be a rebuilding phase.

GOAL: Wainui winger Jaxon Allan (left) cuts inside midfielder Taylor Kijowski to hit the shot that put his side 2-0 up against Mangapapa in the Iain Gillies Challenge Trophy game yesterday. Wainui claimed the trophy with a 5-1 win. Pictures by Paul Rickard
FOOT RACE: Wainui rightback Cory Land (left) looks to take the ball out of defence, with Mangapapa striker Xavier Kohere in pursuit. Pictures by Paul Rickard
AIRBORNE: Wainui striker Tre-Leon Peachey (right) contests possession with Hunter Cumming, of Mangapapa, in the Iain Gillies Challenge Trophy game yesterday. Pictures by Paul Rickard
SEEKING A WAY THROUGH: Wainui leftback Reef West-Hill looks to ease himself out of a tight spot as Mangapapa players Taylor Kijowski (left) and Calais Johnson try to block his path. Wainui won the game 5-1.