A Hawke's Bay-dominated under-13 side provided Central Soccer with its first title success in the four-year history of the Napier-hosted inter-federation age-group tournament on Friday.
Eight Bay players and assistant coach Craig Barkle were involved in the Central side which beat Soccer Two 1-0 at Park Island in their final match of the seven-day tournament. They finished the event with five wins and a loss, and three competition points ahead of runners-up Mainland.
The eight Bay players in the side were Dakota Lucas, Scott McDonald, Lucain MacDonald, Daniel Ball, Tom MacFarlane, Hamish Patrick, Adam Glasspool and Oliver McArdle.
"It was a hard battle, as there is some good talent out there. But all the hard work and travelling down to Palmerston North for training every week for the past three months paid off," said Barkle who assisted Manawatu's Barry Wilkinson with the coaching of the side.
It was Barkle's first taste of coaching at this level but he had coached some Bay players at club, inter-city and provincial levels for the past five years.
"With Napier City beating Otago United 3-0 in Friday night's national league match at Park Island, it was a memorable week all-round for Hawke's Bay soccer," Barkle added.
The other three Central teams, the under-14s, under-15s and under-16s, collected fifth placings in their respective seven-team divisions.
* Results: Under-13s: Central 1 Soccer Two 0; Mainland 2 United One 0; Capital 4 Force Three 1. Final standings: Central 15, Mainland 12, Soccer Two 11, United One 11, Capital 4, Force Three 4, Soccer South 2.
Under-14s: Central 2 Soccer Two 2, Capital 5 Force Three 1, United One 3 Mainland 0.
Final standings: Capital 16, Soccer Two 13, United One 12, Mainland 9, Central 4, Force Three 4, Soccer South 2.
Under-15s: Soccer Two 2 Central 1, Mainland 1 United One 0, Capital 5 Force Three 0. Final standings: Capital 16, Soccer Two 14, Mainland 10, United One 7, Central 4, Force Three 4, Soccer South 4.
Under-16s: Soccer Two 3 Central 0, Mainland 3 United One 1, Capital 1 Force Three 0. Final standings: Soccer Two 16, Capital 15, Mainland 13, Force Three 7, Central 5, United One 3, Soccer South 1.