New Zealand Super Eight Schools Football
Game Five v. Hamilton Boys' High School
Rain made for warmer, but slippery conditions in the playoff for third place against Hamilton Boys’ High School. Hoping to finish one place higher than last year, the PlaceMakers PNBHS 1st XI went into the game chasing a podium finish. PNBHS prevailed in a nail-biting fixture, winning 1-0.
The first ten minutes saw PNBHS successfully establishing and maintaining a defensive block and minimising Hamilton’s attacking threats. Transitioning to attack, PNBHS managed to pick up a free kick out front – John Blackwell given the ball to hammer towards goal, however, just going over the crossbar. Adarsh Dutt continued to threaten up front but was screened out driving goalward. Thomas Bell also tried hooking one into the top corner but collected the crossbar. Further attempts from the attacking formation were squashed by Hamilton Boys’, but PNBHS maintained pressure when on the ball and remained tight at the back when dispossessed.
Adarsh Dutt began the second half by turning and burning through the Hamilton defensive line, but his angled ball back to the PNBHS shirts streaming into the box was cut out by the retreating defence. At the other end of the park, Brooklyn Browne kept PNBHS in the game with another stand-out performance, taking a 1-on-1 challenge cleanly with safe hands. PNBHS finally broke the stalemate, with John Blackwell playing a ball into the corner for Xavier Coleman to chase down and cross into the box. An aerial header from Adarsh Dutt into the top corner put PNBHS in front with fifteen minutes to play. PNBHS re-established their tight defence and worked to keep the lead till the final whistle.
Congratulations to Aadesh Ganugapati for playing his 50th game for the PlaceMakers PNBHS 1st XI and being awarded the Team MVP award for his efforts during the tournament. His level-head and mistake-free play added a high level of security to the team’s defence, and a reliable connection in the midfield when transitioning.
Congratulations also to Brooklyn Browne, who was awarded the 'Golden Glove' award for Goal Keeper of the Tournament, as voted by opposition coaches. Brooklyn brought up his 50th game for the PlaceMakers PNBHS 1st XI in the match against Napier Boys' High School.
After five tough games, the PlaceMakers PNBHS 1st XI are content with their efforts, but also realise the work required to further improve. PNBHS return to Horizons Premiership league games this Saturday.
Game Four v. Tauranga Boys' College
This afternoon’s game was one way traffic against the PlaceMakers PNBHS 1st XI. An in-form Tauranga Boys’ College continued their strong run through their oppositions. PNBHS held their own, kept high standards and a high work rate throughout the game.
From the first whistle, Tauranga Boys' College showed a powerful presence on the field. Brooklyn Browne made every effort to keep the game alive, making great reactionary saves, but Tauranga Boys' College players followed in and tidied up the dregs. A free kick to PNBHS was punched long range and collected up by Jaiden Meyer, but the shot was off target. To finish the half, Jaiden crossed in a ball of his own however the aerial efforts of both Adarsh Dutt and Xavier Coleman were not enough. Tauranga Boys' College went into the break leading 3-0.
PNBHS maintained a high work rate in the second half, with Alex Kilkelly digging the ball out of a heavy tackle and setting Adarsh Dutt up on an aggressive drive to goal, but the attack was squashed. After holding out for a long period, Tauranga Boys' College scored again with tidy play through the middle of the pitch. Bay Shi came off the bench to inject aggression into the midfield, and was effective in bursting through multiple tackles to set Thomas Bell up on a bobbling ball in front of goal. The side of the foot was all that was required and PNBHS had their first.
Much was learnt from the game: most certainly the most comprehensive team PNBHS have come up against this season.
Game Three v. New Plymouth Boys' High School
The PlaceMakers PNBHS 1st XI played their last Super Eight Pool A match against New Plymouth Boys' High School this morning. PNBHS were playing to top the pool, while New Plymouth needed a win to secure a spot in the semi finals. New Plymouth came out firing and secured the win, with PNBHS losing 2-1.
Another frosty morning and the low hanging sun made conditions difficult for both teams. The first ten minutes of play was end to end football, however New Plymouth showed more sting in their attacks, claiming two early corner kicks, but PNBHS successfully defended them. Transitioning to attack swiftly, a long cross from New Plymouth found an open runner who nodded in to put them in front at the twenty minute mark. Countering this, a direct drive towards goal saw Adarsh Dutt beating two players before edging a shot past the keeper to level the scores. In similar fashion to their first, New Plymouth nodded in a second near the end of the half to take back the lead.
The second half saw PNBHS with more time on the ball and longer spells of attacking play. Thomas Bell made every effort to connect with Adarsh Dutt, but was beaten by the keeper. At the other end, a diving save from Brooklyn Browne and a follow-up shot subdued by Jayden Simpson kept PNBHS in touch. Fresh legs from the substitution bench added more speed over the park and PNBHS spent more time pushing forward than retreating. Free kick opportunities in the dying minutes saw ten PNBHS players in the box, looking to secure an equaliser. Bay Shi attempted to take the direct route, skimming a second free kick off the outside of the upright, but unable to claw one back, the referee’s whistle ended the fixture.
Game Two v. Napier Boys' High School
Our second game for the day was against Napier Boys’ High School. Going in, PNBHS knew it would be a lot different to the earlier matchup against Rotorua Boys' High School. What the team was not expecting was having to fight back after being two goals down in the first six minutes.
In his 50th game for the PlaceMakers PNBHS 1st XI, Brooklyn Browne was tested early. Napier pressed hard and strong, taking two attacking corners and multiple shots to open the game. Defensive shape broke open and Napier were rewarded with two quick goals. PNBHS were persistently punished for their passing errors, and were driven back each time to their goal line. Aadesh Ganugapati stepped up to settle the play and connect neatly with Jaiden Meyer to construct some attacking runs of their own, changing the tone of the game. Making a driving run, Aadesh was dragged down by the keeper, and PNBHS put Jaiden Meyer on the spot to convert, and to begin the come back.
The second half saw more possession and successful passing play between the team, with less leaks and errors being forced by Napier. The combination of Daniel McDougall and Jaiden Meyer resulted in a ball across the face of the goal, tapped in by Adarsh Dutt to level the game. Through a series of attacking corners, Napier went back on the attack, however, were unable to add to their tally – thanks to Brooklyn Browne's safe pair of gloves. Sharp reading of play saw Ben Mori latch onto a loose back-pass and guide it home to put PNBHS in front with two minutes left to play.
Determination and grit were the proven points in this match. Mounting a come-back against a quality opposition is never an easy task, especially with a tournament result at stake. The win sees the team through to the semi-finals. Congratulations again to Brooklyn Browne, for playing his 50th game for the PlaceMakers PNBHS 1st XI.
Game One v. Rotorua Boys' High School
With a strong start to the tournament, the Placemakers PNBHS 1st XI saw off Rotorua Boys’ High School in game one: 3-1.
Rotorua allowed PNBHS room to move the ball around the defensive five, but their tight block defence took some work to exploit. It was a piercing ball from Matt Rowe though to Jaiden Meyer that started the surge forwards. A snappy cross to the far post brought Xavier Coleman into action, heading the ball strongly into the net. A free kick a while later put Alex Kilkelly over the ball, swinging it into a line of white shirts. Daniel McDougal took the honours, getting a toe on it and increasing the lead.
The second half began with a great save from Brooklyn Browne, and later a handball penalty awarded to PNBHS was saved by the Rotorua keeper. The third PNBHS goal stemmed much the same as the first; Matt Rowe finding passage through the defence to Adarsh Dutt, who touched on to Jaiden Meyer, creating a 1-on-1 with the keeper. Late in the game, efforts by Daniel McDougall were tapped over the crossbar and Bay Shi bounced one off the crossbar. All in all, a good start to the tournament.