The competition produced a series of captivating matches held at the CIFA Complex and the Takitumu School grounds in Matavera.
It was a too-little, too-late story for the first match of the day in Group A of the men’s division.
Familiar faces in the Aitutaki men’s line-up, Geoffrey Strickland and Grover Harmon, found the back of the net in the late stages of the second half to secure their win against Avarua 2-0.
Puaikura, who were seemingly on their way to winning their first match of the National Football Championship, were left in utter shock when Atiu’s young guns Okirua Thompson and Nathan Abarahama stepped up in the second half to score two late goals to avoid defeat.
The game was entertaining right throughout and ended with a 4-4 scoreline.
In Group B the Takitumu district men’s team proved too strong for Mitiaro. Paul Poila, Daryl Areai and Geosah George scored a goal apiece to help their team walk away with a 3-0 win.
Mangaia came out of the blocks firing and scored early in their encounter with Mauke.
It was short-lived however, as Mauke managed to score four goals in quick succession and held out their opponents to a 4-1 loss.
In Group A for the senior women Avarua is sitting at the top with a win against Aitutaki. A mishap at the back by Tupou Patia opened the way for Moeroa Harmon, who made no mistake in putting away the breakaway goal.
Aitutaki had a few goal-mouth scrambles that they were not able to convert and they went down 1-0 against Avarua. Puaikura and Atiu came away from their encounter with a hard fought one-all draw.
The Takitumu women’s team were the victors in their Group B battle with Mitiaro. They convincingly beat Mitiaro 7-0.
Mauke kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 win over Mangaia and will be looking to continue that momentum heading into day two of the National Football Championship.
With points being spread across the day, Monday’s schedule should be highly contested.
There are many more games to be played to decide who will be crowned the National Football Championship winners. Games begin from noon at the CIFA Complex and Takitumu School.