Forrest Hill Milford 5, Claudelands Rovers 0
Becroft Park, Auckland, April 6 2014
After checking out the prime movers and shakers in the men’s premier division of the NRFL yesterday, it would have been remiss of me not to also catch the women’s premier equivalent today. This of course could mean only one thing – a visit to Becroft Park and Forrest Hill Milford.
Like Glenfield Rovers yesterday, FHM too faced a tough first assignment against strong Hamilton opposition. Unlike Glenfield’s blokes however, these ladies systematically picked their opponents apart piece by piece and dealt a blow that confirmed what we’d all been wondering up to this point. Yes, that’s right folks: Hype = justified. This team is going to take some stopping AND they delivered today’s powerful message minus a few strong players out through injury.
To summarise the game, Claudelands weren’t really in it. They struggled for possession with FHM pressing effectively and stripping the Hamiltonians of the ball in the middle of the park with relentless ease. The Claudelands defensive trio of Libby Williams, Eilish Hayes and Kate Carlton have been together a while and still look reasonably solid which is one reason why the score didn’t blow out more than it did but what ball the side got tended to be hoofed in the general direction of Helen Collins, who did her best, occasionally breaking free and looking dangerous in flashes, but she simply couldn’t do it alone.
Forrest Hill on the other hand were very slick on attack right across the park as you would expect from a virtual New Zealand Under 20 side. Briar Palmer’s hat trick is a pretty fair indication of how dominant she was up front with Emma Rolston chipping in with a goal and at least one assist. The scary thing was there could have been more from those two if their shooting radar had been a little more honed. Look out for many, many goals from this pair in 2014. The other goal was a Tayla O’Brien screamer from the edge of the box which truly was something to behold and her strong runs down the left flank also contributed greatly to the danger posed by the swans’ attack.
Where to now for NRFL Women’s Premier in 2014? Looking at the results of the other contenders, Eastern Suburbs beat a solid Papatoetoe side (who FHM smashed by about a million to two in pre-season I might add) 6-2, Three Kings won 5-0 at Western Springs – one of last year’s relegated sides who were thrown a lifeline when Pukekohe withdrew, and Glenfield suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of the sleeping giants of women’s football (asleep no longer?) Lynn Avon. Fencibles beat Bay of Plenty 6-1 in the other game.
With any luck some of these teams have been watching FHM closely and have a plan or six to break them down otherwise we could be in for a one horse procession to the title and goodness knows what else… The Women’s Knockout Cup as well? I have no idea who is capable of stopping them. Eastern Suburbs look the most likely on early form. From a neutral’s perspective I hope someone can at least push them close and make things interesting! Let’s wait and see.
Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.