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Winter Olympics

Wellington Olympic 1, Lower Hutt City 0
Wakefield Park, Wellington, June 2 2012

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As I travelled to my first ever game of Wellington club football, Greg Anderson’s famous quote “focus on the journey, not the destination” was at the forefront of my mind. Getting from A to B in our nation’s capital is something that requires determination, fitness, a strong ice pick and an experienced Sherpa. It’s a compact yet hilly city and despite its excellent public transport, its residents, in my unfortunate experience, tend to insist on walking most places. Needless to say that when I say walking, it’s what they call walking, normal people call it mountaineering. Saturday’s journey from my uncle’s house in the suburb of Brooklyn, where I was staying, to the game in Island Bay, involved scaling and then repelling what felt like the North face of K2.

With great effort comes great reward though. This was the view of Island Bay from the midpoint of the expedition:

The other thing you need to know about Wellington if you’ve never been is it can be as cold and windy as it is stunningly beautiful. Standing on a football pitch on the second day of Winter in a bay that faces South – proper journalists have staff for this stuff. But once again, every cloud has a silver lining and in this case it was the best damn pineapple and cheese toasted sandwich I’ve ever had. They were so good I had to go back for a second helping at half time. Compliments to the chef!

The other big reward was the ability to compare the Central Premier League with its Northern equivalent. This was truly fascinating. The game seemed faster and more attacking than I’m used to seeing in Auckland. This could be due in part to the strong Greek influence of Wellington Olympic which I personally found quite refreshing as someone of South Central European descent.

It was a thrillingly close match. Both sides had plenty of good attacking opportunities thwarted by solid defending. Having said that, Olympic did look dominant for most of the match and the home side’s late winner was thoroughly well deserved.

While there was plenty of great skill and flair on display from both sides, it’s impossible to say if the product was tactically superior to the more English style of the Northern League. For the verdict on that, we shall have to wait until the later rounds of the Chatham Cup. I for one can’t wait to see what unfolds.

Categories: NZ Men's Central League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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