PREVIEW: Shield adds zip to Ngongotaha Lakes’ mid-season recovery

By Jack Sharp

After a miserable start to the season, Ngongotaha Lakes have become one of the form teams in the Lotto NRFL Men’s Southern Conference.

A month ago, they were perilously close to bottom side Te Awamutu, with only one win to their credit.

They’d just been thrashed 8-0 by runaway league leaders Cambridge and they faced a trip to Papamoa.

The game, and their 3-2 win on June 8, seems to have kick-started the season.

The win meant they returned to Ngongotaha with the WaiBOP Federation Challenge Shield, a trophy that the holders defend when playing at home.

Since then, they’ve successfully defended the shield with wins against Te Awamutu (2-1) and Waikato Unicol (4-2), as well as taking their winning form to Otumoetai (2-1).

The side now has 15 points and a win this weekend could boost them into the top half of the table, if other results go their way.

Game of the week

Ngongotaha defend the shield on Saturday against second-placed Claudelands Rovers who get the chance to cut the gap on leaders Cambridge, who are busy in the Chatham Cup.

Both teams have plenty to play for.

Ngongotaha will want to hang on to the shield for the rest of the season, and a draw will be enough to deprive Rovers.

Rovers need to win, and keep winning, to stand any chance of catching unbeaten Cambridge.

It looks like being a belter of a game.

Bold prediction

Full marks to Ngongotaha Lakes for turning around their season.

I think they’ll keep the shield, with either a draw or the win against Rovers.

Last week, I tipped Claudelands Rovers to beat Papamoa by a single-goal margin. Rovers won 2-1, after coming from behind.

Golden Boot

17 — Bailey Webster (Cambridge)
14 — Jack Connor (Cambridge)
13 — Krishaant Singh (Claudelands Rovers)
11 — Jack Boland (Otumoetai),
10 —  Josh Clarkin (Cambridge)
8 — Joe O’Donoghue (Taupo)
7 — Henry Stephen (Claudelands Rovers), Andrew Cooper (Papamoa), Kjay Morehu (Waikato Unicol), Steffano Riley (Ngongotaha Lakes)
6 — Dylan Foster (Taupo), Sean Barbour (Taupo)


Games to be played on Saturday July 6, 2024

Waikato Unicol v Taupo
Waikato University, Hamilton, 3pm

Te Awamutu v Papamoa
The Stadium, Te Awamutu, 3pm

Ngongotaha Lakes v Claudelands Rovers
Tamarahi Reserve, Ngongotaha, 3pm

Otumoetai v Cambridge
Postponed due to Cambridge’s participation in Chatham Cup

Jack Sharp

Jack Sharp is a long-time follower of club football in New Zealand and is a volunteer writer for Friends of Football. You can show your appreciation for his work by buying him a coffee.

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