Memorial Cup victory breaks 34-year drought for Wanderers

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The Gore Wanderers have claimed the Donald Gray Memorial Cup for the first time in 34 years.

Wanderers led the competition throughout and the Laser Plumbing-sponsored team’s 2-2 draw against Invercargill’s Old Boys at Hyde Park, in Gore, on Saturday gave it enough points to win the competition.

The Donald Gray Memorial Cup is the premier men’s football competition in Southland.

Old Boys put the first goal on the board, but Wanderers were persistent.

Wanderers players Mark Anderson, Miguel Ortiz and Tim Kuik were close to scoring several times, but Old Boys goalie Britton Dowling put in a superb effort at keeping them out.

In the second half Wanderers scored twice and Old Boys landed another goal, bringing the score to 2-2.

Gore Wanderers coach Phil Williams said a draw was all the team had needed to win the competition.

Team members had played together for the past three seasons and that had given the team great cohesion, he said.

“We have been together as a group for three seasons. We’ve worked on great combos and also really gelled as a team.”

The Wanderers had come up against Old Boys twice before in the season.

“We beat them the other times – we beat them quite convincingly, actually,” he said.

“They stepped up hugely [this time].”

The team was ecstatic over the win.

“Just the fact we managed to win is great – the last time was 34 years ago.”

Wanderers player Miguel Ortiz said he was happy with the work the team put in on Saturday.

“We played to leave the name of the Gore Wanderers high and made history, too,” Ortiz said.

Wanderers and Old Boys will meet again in two weeks, to fight it out for the Charity Cup, bringing the 2017 football season to a close.