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Two Rovers, one cup

Claudelands Rovers 0, Glenfield Rovers 4
Galloway Park, Hamilton, August 25 2013

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It was the battle of the two Rovers in today’s semi-final of the New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup. For the victor, a date with Christchurch club Coastal Spirit in the final. For the vanquished, season over, so long and better luck next year. I was very much looking forward to my trip down State Highway One for this, mostly due to the tantalising prospect of two Waikato sides in the two big cup finals. Melville played yesterday in the men’s Chatham Cup semi-final against Waitakere City. If both Melville and Claudelands had won, it would have opened up the possibility of a Hamilton double that hasn’t been seen since, well, ever.

I didn’t fancy two trips to the Tron in two days so I had to choose between the two games. Given I knew that every man and his Twitter app for iPhone would be at the Melville game, I elected to come to Claudelands today instead, and see what should in any case have been the stronger of the two Waikato hopes.

As it happened, sadly, Waitakere City were too strong for Melville yesterday. So at that point, my choice was looking like a masterstroke. Even more sadly however, after today the story of Waikato sport for most of my life held true as both Mooloo hopes fell so close to the final goal.

For Claudelands, it is the second year in a row that they have been eliminated in the semi-finals. Last year it was to a Massey University side who wanted it more. This year, it looked more as though while the desire was there, they just had too many important players missing, particularly from the attacking end, and not enough depth to cover. Take two players of the calibre of Sarah McLaughlin and Olivia Chance out of any team and they will struggle, even though the reds still had the luxury of prolific goal machine Helen Collins leading the line. The brutal truth was though, against Glenfield outfit laden with age-group internationals, she simply couldn’t do it alone.

They did manage to hold their own for most of the game, but across the park Glenfield looked just that little bit higher quality, and that was the difference. The four goal cushion did flatter the visitors, but at the end of the day it makes no difference. One goal or four, you can’t win games unless you get that little round thing into the big white rectangular netted thing down the other end and try as Collins did all game, it just wasn’t a happening thing. When the first goal went in, it felt like Claudelands could still get back into the game with a touch of magic. But when Glenfield earned a penalty, and Caitlin Campbell duly stepped up and converted, red spirits were broken, the floodgates opened from there, and the reality was the visitors could have run up a higher total than they did.

A brilliant result then for Glenfield. With Katie Rood, Caitlin Campbell (from the spot), Briar McNamara and Bridgette Armstrong all on the score sheet, they showed what a complete side they are and will not fear anything the Southerners might throw at them in the final. Word on the street is that the season finale will be in Christchurch. That being the case, a plane ticket is a tempting purchase…

After the game I spoke to Glenfield Coach Carl Jorgensen, and I must say, I am thoroughly enjoying this challenge the players appear to have set themselves to see who can disrupt my interviews most effectively! I may have cracked slightly this time, but Glenfield still have a way to go to top Waiuku the other week…

Categories: NZ Women's KO Cup

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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