Tauranga City have taken the Lotto NRFL Men’s Championship title with a 7-0 win against Mount Albert Ponsonby.
Led by leading scorer Jonty Bidois — who scored four goals in the opening 25 minutes — Tauranga were never in doubt of taking the three points they needed to hold off runners-up East Coast Bays.
Bays, who led the competition for much of the season, needed a win in their last fixture, against Hibiscus Coast, to stand any chance of catching Tauranga.
But despite edging Hibiscus Coast 2-1 with a winner in the final minute, Bays’ last-ditch effort was not enough to overhaul Tauranga.
Ngaruawahia United won their last fixture of the season to go above MAP on the table.
Tauranga City and East Coast Bays will be promoted to next year’s Northern League, replacing Takapuna and Manukau United who drop into the Championship.
Games played on September 9, 2023
Metro 1 (Raekwon Coughlan 47′)
Ngaruawahia United 2 (Zander Pringle 7′, Campbell Martin 68′)
Waiheke United 1 (Juan Cruz Canay 45′)
Northern Rovers 0
North Shore United 6 (Joseph Moore 5′, Nick Petherick 12′, 48′, Thomas Page 83′, Ryan Singh 85′, Guy-Frank Essome Penda 90+2′)
Onehunga Mangere United 0
Tauranga City 7 (Jonty Bidois 19′, 22′, 24′, 25′, Tom Crawford 38′, Colby Brennan 48′, Nathan Rostron 75′)
Mount Albert Ponsonby 0
East Coast Bays 2 (Logan Archer 43′, Thomson Nkoy 90′)
Hibiscus Coast 1 (Cameron Martin 68′)
Ellerslie 3 (scorers to come)
Fencibles United 3 (scorers to come)