The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership is a four-horse race.

Just three points separate new leaders Flying Mullet Pāpāmoa from fourth-placed Waikato Unicol after Saturday's matches.

The visit of previous leaders Taupō to Pāpāmoa was the weekend's stand-out fixture and it did not disappoint. Taupō had gone on a nine-game winning run since their defeat to Pāpāmoa in the reverse fixture during the opening weeks of the season, and they fell again as goals from Callum Glover, two minutes before half time, and Colm Kenny, three minutes after the restart helped the hosts to a 2-1 victory.

Joe O'Donoghue hit back for Taupō just after the hour mark to set up a gripping final half hour or so but Taupō couldn't find a second and relinquished their Premiership lead.


Ōtūmoetai's 4-0 win at Ferguson Park over a faltering Tauranga Blue Rovers moved them into second, level on 28 points with Taupō but ahead of the Lakesiders on goal difference.

Rovers are still in fifth but now sit nine points behind a Unicol side that followed up their 2-0 midweek win at Melville United with a 5-0 victory over Tauranga Boys' College on Saturday.

In the other games, Melville United and Gisler Architects Te Awamutu won their fourth games of the season, while Safer Team Te Puke United won their first.

Ōtūmoetai's Ben McLean and Tauranga Blue Rovers captain Karl Bryant challenge for a ball in the air. Photo / Stuart Whitaker
Ōtūmoetai's Ben McLean and Tauranga Blue Rovers captain Karl Bryant challenge for a ball in the air. Photo / Stuart Whitaker

There were only two matches played in The Soccer Shop WaiBOP W-League this weekend. Leaders Tauranga City were forced to watch on as their match against Whakatāne Town was postponed due to the conditions at Links Ave.

In Tauranga's absence, their two closest challengers had mixed Sunday afternoon's. Tilemax Pāpāmoa had a great opportunity to jump into top spot at home to Ōtūmoetai and looked likely to do so after goals from Briana Osbourne and Monique Lowry put them two-up at the break. But the visitors, who had previously secured only four points all season, hit back in the second half to ensure the match ended 2-all thanks to an Elena Reis' double. Reis' second came five minutes from time and left Pāpāmoa level on 22 points with Tauranga.

Claudelands Rovers had no such drama, scoring three times in each half to win their derby against Hamilton Wanderers 6-0. The goal scoring duties belonged this week to Stella Neems and Stacey Palmer, who both scored hat-tricks. The three points Rovers picked up place them just a point behind the top two sides.

Bulk Lines Otorohanga have stormed to the top of The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Championship after another handsome win. Doubles from Aaron Thompson and Jamie Walker helped Otorohanga cruise to a 5-0 win at Hamilton Wanderers. The three points they gathered from their victory moved them ahead of previous leaders, Waikato Unicol reserves, who lost 2-1 at Tokoroa.

Unicol, in fact, have tumbled all the way to fourth after both Claudelands Rovers and Ōtūmoetai's reserves joined them on 26 points but moved ahead due to markedly superior goal differences. Claudelands beat Tauranga City 5-0, while Ōtūmoetai went several better in thumping Tauranga Blue Rovers' reserves 8-0 in the early game at Ferguson Park.

An incredible 11 goals were shared between Waharoa Transport Matamata Reserves and Cambridge as the visitors ran out 7-4 winners at the Matamata Domain. Taupō's reserves won 4-1 over Flying Mullet Pāpāmoa's reserves in the early game at Gordon Spratt Reserve.


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