Footballer numbers up

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Photo: Juniors in action in Ashburton Domain on the first day of last season.

By Mick Jensen

Senior football has already kicked off and younger age groups will take to the field this Saturday for the start of a new season.

There has been a big increase in younger age groups numbers this season, jumping from 16 to 22 teams in the four to eight year olds and from 12 to 16 teams in the nine to 13 year olds.

There are around 330 registered players this season and teams involved in the Mainland competitions kicked off in early April and will conclude in late August.

The local season starts on Saturday with four to eight year olds playing throughout Term 2. The level of interest will then be reviewed and football may continue into Term 3.

Nine to thirteen year olds will play games through until August, in line with Mainland playing dates.

Many of the young players will be involved in tournaments during the third term school holidays and we anticipate having teams away to Selwyn and Queenstown at this stage, says Mid Canterbury Football spokesman Roger Dakers.

He said travelling teams involved in Mainland competitions had started the new season very well.

The senior men’s Division 1 team was currently unbeaten and was sitting third on the ladder, with a game lined up at home this weekend against one of the teams above them.

The senior men’s Division 6 team was also unbeaten and was sitting first on the ladder, while the senior women’s Division 1 team, which played games on Sundays, was second on the table.

The 13th grade Division 1 team was also going well, sat second on the ladder and was up against the top team at home this weekend.

There was also a local Masters team playing in the South Canterbury Senior Men’s Division 3 competition, said Mr Dakers.

“We had been unable to form a Masters team to meet Mainland’s regulations and so players have got together to form a team that can play under the South Canterbury regulations.

“They play under the Geraldine Football Club, but with a few ‘home’ games here in Ashburton.”

All local competitive football is played on pitches in Ashburton Domain, while Argyle Park is used for training purposes.