Reds clinch the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership title

Cambridge are the football champions of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty.

With an emphatic 7-0 win against local rivals Te Awamutu, Cambridge have clinched the 2017 Loaded WaiBOP Premiership title with a game to spare.

The title is the fourth major success achieved by the club’s senior teams this season, following:

– Winners of the 2017 WaiBOP Championship, the second highest level of the region’s sport behind the Premiership.
– Winners of the 2017 Waikato Women’s League.
– Holders of the WaiBOP Challenge Shield.

The club also has the opportunity to win the Soccer Shop Waikato Cup with its Waikato B team playing Otorohanga in the final next Saturday (September 16) after the match was postponed this weekend.

Cambridge’s Premiership win means the club now gets the chance to play Auckland club Beachlands-Maraetai in a two-legged play-off for a place in next year’s Northern League second division.

The club narrowly lost a similar play-off in 2015 after it last won the WaiBOP Premiership, and the squad will be keen to make up for that disappointment.

Certainly, the Cambridge team showed its class at Te Awamutu’s Anchor Park, coasting to an easy victory in blustery conditions.

The home side held Cambridge for 22 minutes before pressure got the better of them and Callum MacLeod found the net from a Daniel Clarkin cross.

Within six minutes, Cambridge had raced to a 3-0 lead with goals from Tom Woutersen in a goalmouth scramble and then skipper Patrick Woodlock with a powerful header.

That’s how the score stayed until midway through the second half when leading scorer Donovan Latham found the net. His effort started a late rout of a tiring Te Awamutu side, with Josh Clarkin heading home in the 75th minute, Woutersen poaching a goal from close and Latham finishing the job with his second in the dying minutes.

The win extended Cambridge’s unbeaten run to 15 matches, with 43 points taken from a possible 45.

The side plays its last Premiership fixture at Melville United next weekend.

Captain Woodlock received the Premiership trophy from WaiBOP Football chairman David Ireland and the team and supporters began their celebrations.

Winners of the WaiBOP Premiership (formerly Federation 1):

2007: Taupo
2008: Taupo
2009: Matamata Swifts
2010: Claudelands Rovers
2011: Old Blues (Tauranga)
2012: Taupo
2013: AFC Fury
2014: AFC Fury
2015: Cambridge
2016: Ngongotaha
2017: Cambridge

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