Defending champions Nelson College have earned an automatic right to defend their National First XI football title after an extraordinary win in the Tasman regional qualifying series.
This afternoon Nelson had to rely on Marlborough Boys’ College losing to Waimea College, while winning by a huge margin themselves to qualify for the Top 16.
Waimea, courtesy of a Logan de Joux strike ten minutes into the second-half, beat Marlborough 1-0 leaving each of those sides on two wins each.
Nelson destroyed Nayland College 13-0 to record their second victory. Captain Labu Pan scored four goals and Thang Thang Vanuk added a hat-trick as six different players netted goals.
That left Nelson, Waimea and Marlborough with two wins each meaning goal difference would determine the top ranked side.
Nelson scored 16 goals and conceded three for a goal difference of plus 13. Marlborough scored 13 goals, but conceded two for a goal difference of plus 11. Waimea was well back with a positive six differential.
Earlier in the tourney Marlborough threw the cat among the pigeons when they upset Nelson 2-1. Quick goals to Harrison Pine and Alex Connor-McClean established a lead which Nelson never pegged back, though a penalty converted by Thomas Amasia would prove crucial.
Meanwhile Waimea only put six goals past hapless Nayland, a total Marlborough’s Alex Connor-McClean scored on his own in a Round Two 11-0 win by Marlborough.
Nelson battled past Waimea 2-1 in Round Two. Van Roland Hlawn Ceu and David Hug scored on either side of halftime to give Nelson a 2-0 lead before a long-range effort from Chester Gaskin gave Waimea some hope of a late comeback with just five minutes to go.
Nelson coach Davor Tavich speaking to the Nelson Mail today said.
“There was a lot of pressure on us in the first game because it was the first game after winning the nationals and I think the nerves played a big part and we couldn’t get out of the hole and lacked a bit of leadership,” he said.
“But we know we can play football, that was never a question, it was just about the personality and the strength that is required to win big games and we’ve shown that we’ve got it but we need to have it consistently now.”
Marlborough and Waimea now require a wildcard to qualify for the Top 16 at Nationals which are staged in September.
R1: MBC beat Nelson 2-1
R1: Waimea beat Nayland 6-1
R2: Nelson beat Waimea 2-1
R2: MBC beat Nayland 11-0
R3: Nelson beat Nayland 13-0
R:3: Waimea beat MBC 1-0
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