1st XI Defends its Premier League Title

The Hamilton Boys' 1st XI football team has won the Waikato Secondary Schools Premier League title in dramatic fashion, coming from two goals behind against St Peter's 1st XI to win the title decider 3-2

HBHS were the stronger team in the first half, but could not register a goal. Matt Shaw had a field day on the right wing and delivered a multitude of crosses into the box, but the end product was never quite there. Meanwhile, St. Peter's scored twice, with counter attacking goals that capitalised on HBHS mistakes. At the break, St. Peter's jogged from the field in a buoyant mood, whilst HBHS trudged off wondering what had happened, given they enjoyed the lion's share of possession and had created a lot more chances.

One sensed that if HBHS was to win the game, the comeback would have to start early in the second half. Levi Clark sensed this too - the tricky midfielder went on one of his weaving runs 7 mins into the second half and won a penalty aftert being tripped in the box. Clark converted the opportunity with a perfectly placed strike, giving the keeper no chance. Game on!

The tie turned in an instant. After a short rest, centre back John Clout came back on and demanded more from his team. They delivered, courtesy of a Harry Christensen-Rose free kick, neatly tucked away by Luke Woolerton. The nervous HBHS crowd would have settled for a 2-2 draw as this would secured the title, but the boys had other ideas. With 13 mins left, Luke Woolerton slotted in the winner from close range to seal the match. This time it was the home team's turn to be stunned. The HBHS defence locked out St Peter's from this point on, with Avi Kumar, Jacob Stevens, John Clout and an outstanding Joel McMullan shutting up shop for the rest of game.

It was a fanstastic response from HBHS and coach Aaron Scott told them so in the team huddle after the match. "We cleared the bench today boys and you all contributed when you needed to. I asked yCedric ou to respond in the second half and you did. That's what a champion team does." Scott was clearly delighted with the team effort. A stand out from the bench was Ngungambili, whose silky skills and intelligent play took the game away from the St Peter's midfield. Quest Tipping also put in his usual 110% shift, harassing defenders and crossing balls in to send panic into the St Peter's defence. Harry Christenson-Rose used his experience to play in the right areas and was another who made a big impact when he came on.

The two teams do it all again next week in the Knockout Cup semi final. Same time, same place. Promises to be another cracker!

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