Whanganui sides continue to lead their respective football league competitions despite a first loss for the season.

Versatile Wanganui City's 2-1 loss to North End Reserves at Wembley Park on Saturday was its first in seven games of this year's Horizons Premiership. City still lead the 10-team competition with 18 points, two ahead of Palmerston North Boys' High School in second. GJ Gardner Homes Whanganui Athletic Reserves sit third on 12 points after Saturday's 4-0 win over Palmerston North Marist Reserves at Wembley Park.

City play second placed Palmerston North Boys' High in Palmerston North on Saturday and coach Kelvin Francis expects a fierce contest.

"We know they won't give up, so we need to give it our all on Saturday," Francis said.

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"We have a young squad still learning the ropes and we made a defensive error last week and they unfortunately pounced on it and scored the winner with five (minutes) to go. We know what went wrong, but the good thing was we pushed the ball around very well, although we were just a bit impatient at times, so we have worked on that in training," he said.

Meanwhile, GJ Gardner Homes Athletic's top side continued its unbeaten run in the Lotto Federation League with a 1-0 win over last year's champions Havelock North. Athletic have been in outstanding form under Tex von Kwaitkowski in his first season as coach.

Athletic play Peggy Gordon's New Plymouth Rangers AFC in their first home game of the season at Wembley Park on Saturday at 2.45pm.

Cycling

In other sport, the Whanganui Cycling Club had 13 riders competing over the three days in the Vantage Age Group Road National Championships, returning home with three national champions.

On Friday riders competed in the individual time trial over a 17km or 26km out and back course on the edge of Waipukurau. The distances were determined by age group.

Patrick Johnstone defending his title in the Masters 7 category was first to the podium with a gold medal performance over the 17km course. He was a clear winner by almost a minute over his nearest rival. In even tougher conditions on Saturday Johnstone had an epic ride over 66km and sprinted for a bronze medal.

The next medal in the Individual time trial went to Glenn Haden defending his title in the Seniors Men's group. Haden could have competed in the Masters 1 age group, but he chose to stick to the senior men's group to go up against harder competition.

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Whanganui's Glenn Haden wins in the NZ Senior Time Trial Championship in Waipukurau with Joel Yates, Manawatu second and third and missing from the podium, James Oram from Auckland.
Whanganui's Glenn Haden wins in the NZ Senior Time Trial Championship in Waipukurau with Joel Yates, Manawatu second and third and missing from the podium, James Oram from Auckland.

His time of 32 mins 26 secs averaging 48 km per hour, was almost a minute faster than the silver medalist Joel Yates from Bike Manawatu.

On Sunday the Whanganui Cycling club had a new national champion with Catherine McMurray winning the Masters Women 2 group over 87km, She cleared away from her nearest rivals to win by more than three minutes.

Hockey

Whanganui and Marton hockey teams are not totally disgraced in the Manawatu league.

After four matches this season the Whanganui men's side is fifth on the Premier A tables with three losses and a draw, while Marton sit fourth in the Men's Premier Reserve grade with two losses and a draw.

Player/coach Craig Ritani said the record was nowhere near as bad as it may read with all four matches close encounters.

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"We have had a 4-2 loss, 2-all draw, a 2-1 loss and then last week's 2-0 loss to the top team where we completely dominated play in the second spell, but just couldn't find the back of the net," Ritani said.

They play Levin Hockey MCOB Prem 1 at home on Gonville Domain at 2pm on Saturday.

Whanganui has no dedicated women's side this season, although five or six of last year's team have joined with Massey A in the women's Premier A league. They currently sit sixth on the table after posting two wins, a loss and a draw with a game in hand.

Last Saturday they convincingly beat their own Massey Premier Reserve side 18-1.

This weekend the Wanganui men play Levin, while Marton take on College Premier Reserves and the Massey Premier women tackle HSHC Women A.