Tauranga Boys' College have slipped below Papamoa on the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership table, with their title hopes all but gone.
After the premiership matches on Saturday, Taupo trailed Tauranga Boys' College at half time before storming home to win 4-2, thanks largely to Byron Theesman's second-half hat-trick. Eli Smith also scored for Taupo, while Alex Elliott and Lewis Reid hit the back of the net for the schoolboys, who will now have more than one eye on the national secondary schools tournament in Christchurch during the first week of September.
Taupo maintain their three-point lead over Flying Mullet Papamoa, with both sides having an almost identical goals for and against record. Boys' College slip below Papamoa on the table and now sit five points behind Taupo. With only two games remaining, a double-header against Papamoa, the college's title hopes have all but disappeared.
The Papamoa side played Mercury Tokoroa, opening the scoring early through Mitchell Hales but having to wait until the 87th minute before Cole Peverley doubled their lead.
It was a routine, far from spectacular, 2-0 victory for Papamoa who, like Taupō, will be living by the mantra that wins, not winning margins, are key at this point in the season.
In the weekend's other matches, Waikato Unicol buried Hamilton Wanderers 9-1 at Jansen Park and look likely now to finish in the top three for a second season running. These two sides are scheduled to meet again on Tuesday night in the return fixture.
Melville United and Comag Matamata Swifts round out the top six after both teams scored 2-1 home victories. Melville edged past a Tauranga Blue Rovers side, Matamata beat Te Awamutu and Otumoetai won 3-1 at West Hamilton United to slip ahead of Te Awamutu in the standings on goal difference.
The only WaiBOP Women's Premier League match of the weekend was played in Hamilton, where McKay Tokoroa defeated Melville United 1-0 to ensure a third-place finish. Lucy Mason's goal midway through the first half was enough to separate the sides and also ensure Tokoroa will finish as the top Waikato in the Premier League, behind Tauranga and Whakatāne.