Hibiscus Coast AFC 3, Warkworth AFC 0
Stanmore Bay Park, Hibiscus Coast, May 26 2012
As I drove up to the Whangaparoa Peninsula for today’s local derby between Hibiscus Coast and Warkworth, I was pondering what’s in a name. All the great derbies of the world have great handles. In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid play the ‘Classico’. In Argentina, River Plate and Boca Juniors play the ‘Superclassico’. Rangers and Celtic make up the ‘Old Firm’ in Glasgow. Italian derby names are in my completely unbiased opinion by far the coolest. Milan and Inter play the Derby della Madonnina – named for the little statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of the Milan Cathedral. Genoa and Sampdoria play the Derby della Lanterna – named for the lighthouse by the Port of Genoa. Roma and Napoli play the Derby del Sole, Derby of the Sun – named after the Highway of the Sun that connects Rome with Naples.
Perhaps if New Zealand derbies had cooler names, even in the Northern Regional Football League Division 2, the public might take more notice. Three obvious options spring to mind for this one. The North Auckland Derby – because both these teams come from the far North of the ‘Super City’. Booooooring. The Derby of the Holiday Highway – after the controversial new road between Orewa (on the Hibiscus Coast) and Warkworth that the government is pouring millions of dollars into so that their wealthy backers can access their holiday homes on the beaches of the Far North. A bit of a mouthful. Or simply Rodney – after the Rodney District that both these clubs are based in. ‘Rodney the Derby’. Short. Punchy. Quirky. I like. Rodney it is.
Rodney was played today at Hibiscus Coast’s scenic home ground of Stanmore Bay Park. The venue is right on the beachfront, so close to the water that spectators standing behind the goal could be forgiven for wearing swimwear in case they are required to fetch a wayward shot that has sailed over the crossbar at high tide. The clubrooms have a large extended deck that allows a great view of both the game and the Pacific Ocean. A pretty neat place to watch football.
Winning Rodney was always going to be a tough ask for Warkworth this time around. Hibiscus Coast, 2 points clear at the top of the league, went into this game with 8 wins, no draws and only two losses. Fifth placed Warkworth had won 5, drawn 2 and lost 3.
Apart from a brief period of the beginning of the second half, possession wise this match was all Hibiscus Coast. But Warkworth defended well in the first half and managed to frustrate their opponents. As the pressure built on the home side to convert their chances, they began to look quite rattled and with the score still locked at 0-0 at half time, some of their players were finding it difficult to keep their frustrations to themselves. This only got worse as Warkworth came out after the break and enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure and could have easily grabbed the lead but for some poor finishing. However it was Hibiscus Coast who finally broke the deadlock with their first chance of the second spell and the floodgates opened from there.
Warkworth will be disappointed with their performance but can look forward to the return leg on the very last day of the season when they may well be able to pinch the last laugh – especially if the title is riding on the result. It might yet all come down to the derby named Rodney!
Categories: NZ Northern Men's Division 2
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.