Cambridge back in NRFL

Cambridge are back in the Lotto NRFL for the first time since 2011 despite going down 3-1 to Beachlands Maraetai in the second leg of the play-off series this afternoon.

The Waikato outfit were made to work for their promotion by a highly determined Beachlands side who were keen to rectify their 4-1 first leg defeat.

Beachlands’ leading goal scorer Mark Giles, who was suspended for the first leg, got his side off to the best possible start with a thunderous strike from a tight angle in just the third minute.

With less than ten minutes gone Mark Trowill doubled the lead with a left footed effort which took a slight deflection on the way in.

Joost Busser in goal for Beachlands was kept on his toes for a good ten minutes making a raft of fine saves to keep the home side scoreless before Giles doubled his personal tally and nabbed Beachlands’ third with a fine header over Fraser Nicholls.

The unthinkable looked more realistic now – Beachlands turning around their heavy first leg defeat but Callum MacLeod had other ideas and let rip from 25 yards leaving the impressive Busser with no chance in Beachlands’ goal. 3-1 Beachlands, 5-4 Cambridge on aggregate and all to play for in the second half.

Both sides had several chances in the second spell with Busser continuing his fine first half form to keep Cambridge out while Brody Cleave and Brock Kayall both came close to getting Beachlands the goal they so desperately needed.

Unfortunately for David Smith’s side it wasn’t to be with Cambridge holding out to win 5-4 on aggregate but the boys from East Auckland can certainly be proud of the fight they put forward to bounce back from the first leg defeat.

“They made it really tough,” Cambridge coach Mike Woodlock said of Beachlands Maraetai.

“They had the perfect start with two goals in the first ten minutes; We were really struggling.

“But in the second half we knew we had to turn it around and we did dominating the half.

“We could have had five or six but their goalkeeper was just outstanding, he played out of his skin. That was the difference I think.”

Woodlock was obviously ecstatic with the final outcome despite todays scoreline.

“It feels fantastic [to gain promotion].

“We gave ourselves three years to do it and we did it, this is the third.

“We just failed two years ago and we’ve got a really young side full of school boys, so it’s really amazing.”

Extra Information


 Leg 1
Beachlands Maraetai 1-4 Cambridge
BEA: Liam Thurbon 58’
CAM: Latham Donovan 32’ Tom Woutersen 36’ Patrick Woodlock 43’ Theo Petropoulos 50’

Leg 2
Cambridge 1-3 Beachlands Maraetai
CAM: Callum MacLeod 27’
BEA: Mark Giles 3’ 22’, Mark Trowill 9’

Photo: Grant Stantiall