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Central Auckland Soccer
Herewith my weekly "Central Auckland Soccer" column, which I've sent through to the
Central Leader religiously each week during the winter season since 1992.

Sports' Double Success Earns Another Reward
by Jeremy Ruane
Onehunga Sports' success in winning the Lotto Northern Premier League and ISPS Handa Chatham Cup double this season has earned them another accolade.

For the second time in three seasons, the club has claimed the Central Leader Team of the Year trophy, awarded to the best-performed team of those covered in the paper's weekly Central Auckland Soccer column.

This year marks the silver jubilee of the lead crystal trophy, so it was rather fitting that the honour should be presented to Hiroshi Miyazawa's "Green Machine", given the club is celebrating its diamond jubilee season in 2017.

Hard on Sports' heels were Western Springs, as winners of the Lotto Northern League First Division title under coach Neil Emblen, and Alan Hindson's back-to-back Lotto Northern Premier Women's League champions, Three Kings United.

Central United, beaten finalists in the inaugural all-Central Auckland Chatham Cup Final a fortnight ago, were the best-performed team of those which didn't win trophies, closely followed by Bay Olympic, who were beaten semi-finalists in the cup, and finished just behind Central in the Premier League.

Mt. Albert-Ponsonby had a solid season in mid-table in the First Division, and the draws to which they held Manukau City helped "The Hoops" claim the Thomson Shield, the symbol of First Division supremacy.

Western Springs' Premier Women's League team endured a decidedly disappointing campaign. For a team with the potential to be right in the title-winning frame, they finished well off the pace, the concession of soft goals too often their Achilles' heel.

The late rally made by Three Kings' Premier League men's team ensured they avoided relegation from the top flight, after a mid-season coaching change saw Neil Sykes succeeded by the club's Director of Football, Paul Bateson.

Unfortunately, two local sides didn't avoid the drop this season, and in the case of Onehunga-Mangere United, they've followed Lynn-Avon United out of the Lotto Northern League altogether.

"The Mountain Men" had a horrible Second Division campaign, copping a couple of eight-goal hidings along the way, and ultimately left themselves with far too much to do as the number of games still to play receded.

Metro will replace them in the lowest tier of Northern League football after their youthful side finished bottom of the First Division, suffering a club record 12-0 defeat by Melville United along the way, on home soil to boot.

They suffered defeats by six or seven goals in five other matches, but saved their worst ignominy till

CENTRAL LEADER
TEAM OF THE YEAR WINNERS
Year
Winners
1993
Avondale United women
1994
Metro
1995
Mt. Roskill
1996
Lynn-Avon United women and Metro (shared)
1997
Three Kings United women
1998
Three Kings United women
1999
Three Kings United women
2000
Lynn-Avon United women
2001
Central United
2002
Lynn-Avon United women
2003
Lynn-Avon United women
2004
Lynn-Avon United women and Central United (shared)
2005
Lynn-Avon United women
2006
Lynn-Avon United women
2007
Central United
2008
Lynn-Avon United women and Western Springs women (shared)
2009
Lynn-Avon United women and
Three Kings United men (shared)
2010
Three Kings United women
2011
Bay Olympic
2012
Bay Olympic
2013
Western Springs men
2014
Western Springs men
2015
Onehunga Sports
2016
Three Kings United women
2017
Onehunga Sports


last, defaulting the return match at Melville, their final game of a campaign they'll want to forget.

Next season will see five local teams chasing the Premier League crown, while MAP will be after First Division glory and Metro Second Division success. TKU and "The Hoops" will continue to fly the Central Auckland flag in the country's foremost club-based women's league competition.



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