The final two matches of senior football in Matamata Swifts’ 2018 season were completed over the weekend, with a win and a loss for the club’s two leading sides.
On Saturday, in front of a great end of season crowd, Comag Matamata Swifts came out on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline. Their visitors, Otumoetai, struck from a free kick just before the hour mark, in what was, by and large, a tight, physical encounter that never rose to any great heights.
Both sides created a handful of other good opportunities but struggled with the quality needed to take full advantage. In general, the spectacle didn’t quite match the stunning conditions as the Swifts, along with their opponents, played out a result that saw them both nestle into a mid-table Loaded WaiBOP Premiership finish for 2018.
For Matamata, it was a challenging 2018 season. For a while the team was on the fringes of the title race but injuries to key players, including season enders to Dayne Willemsen and Matt Aberhart, plagued the squad throughout. There’s talent and potential within the group, however, so 2019 looks bright.
Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies rounded out their Waikato Division A campaign with an excellent 2-1 home victory over neighbours, Cambridge. Maggie Leaver and Maddison Stewart made the decisive goal scoring contributions in a match that ended a successful 2018 on a positive note for the Matamata ladies.
Matamata started well against their more favoured opponents but the match remained goalless until half time after an open first stanza of football. The Swifts ladies stepped it up after the break when Leaver drilled the ball home from distance for the go-ahead goal. Stewart then capitalised on good work from Christie McCollam and Leaver to double the lead.
Cambridge scored late to set up a nervy finish but the Matamata defence, led by April Donnelly and goalie Matty Turlington, held strong.
The three points gained from this win drew Matamata level with Cambridge in the final Division A standings. The match was also notable as being the final game of football for Cambridge keeper, Jenn Hull, a long-time Swifts player before her move to the red and whites.
Coupled with their lifting of the Waikato Plate a fortnight ago, this exciting young squad can look back on 2018 with pride.
Matamata’s footballers now look forward to their end of season prizegiving events, with the juniors taking place on Sunday September 16 and the seniors on Saturday September 22.