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All work and no play

Norwest United 7, Hibiscus Coast 0
Huapai Reserve, Auckland, May 11 2014

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Where was I? Oh yes, cups! I was just saying in my previous post (on yesterday’s Chatham Cup game), before I had to run off to Huapai, how the magic of the cup lives on and lesser teams grow another leg and lift to meet their foes, and how close the encounters can be, even when the gulf between the levels they play at can be so great, and all the other clichés…

Well of course not ALWAYS! Sometimes you can also see blowouts where there isn’t much on the surface that would have prepared you for such an eventuality.

Take today’s match for example. Here we have two sides that on paper looked like they might have produced a cup thriller. Take a look at the AFF/NFF Women’s Conference standings and you’ll see Norwest United on top of the table, and Hibiscus Coast, traditionally a strong side at this level, sitting rather handily in 6th only four points behind. Then look at the last time they played. It was on this very same ground only last week and the final score that day was 5-4 in favour of the home side. Another goal-fest like that would have done me nicely! Sadly though, while there was only one fewer goal today, they all went into the same team’s net.

It just goes to show that the old saying is true – the game is not played on paper. Just because it looked like a thriller in theory, didn’t mean that’s what would eventuate. Having said all that though, there were obviously some significant mitigating factors. It sounds like Hibiscus Coast have had a few issues with players being unavailable due to work commitments and thus struggled to get a team out on the pitch at all today. This obviously put them at a huge disadvantage and makes the final result here, taking that into account, less of a capitulation and more of a plucky resistance without which it could have ended up much worse.

It’s tempting to go on another one of my rants about women’s football and state the hypothesis that given the high national profile of the Chatham Cup, it’s hard to imagine employers not being more sympathetic to time off for men participating in our game’s national showpiece than they might have been to women in the same situation today. Oh wait, I just did. But the reality is I don’t know the full facts here, only what I overheard after the game. I’d love it if a player who couldn’t play today or anyone else from Hibiscus Coast would like to comment below, anonymously or otherwise, on what actually happened. And while we’re at it: Male players – do you struggle to get time off work to play in the Chatham Cup?

Either way, I do want to give a small brick bat to New Zealand Football… which is a bit awkward given they only just re-followed me on Twitter today… (Sorry about this guys… Please don’t unfollow me again!)

Contrast yesterday on social media with today. Yesterday there were updates galore from all around the country on all the Chatham Cup ties from a dedicated Chatham Cup Twitter account. Today it seemed to be the federations doing what tweeting there was. If you go onto the NZF website there is plenty of Chatham Cup news and info including a full draw complete with Twitter hashtags. Go to the Knockout Cup page and as of this afternoon there was no indication at all that there were even any games on. It’s only thanks to Jeremy Ruane’s Ultimate Soccer Scoreboard that I even knew there was a round being played today.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record and I know there are probably resourcing issues, but please, please, please can we at least look like we are trying to treat these two great competitions the same? Maybe if we could get a little bit more publicity for the women’s game, one or two more employers just might just see sense and play ball…

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.

3 replies

  1. It wasn’t work commitments that let HBC down really, it was predominantly injury. Our centre midfield is out with a hamstring injury, both centre backs who are pretty bloody good both are out with serious knee injuries, we had a shoulder injury from the last game, a couple of girls away overseas on holiday, and our keeper was on a course she was unable to get out of. It’s not just, ‘oh I can’t I have work’ attitudes here! Next time HBC play Norwest I’m sure it will be a much closer contest 🙂

    1. Well said Nat, it was very disappointing walking off the pitch yesterday. Lately it feels like nothing has been going our way with the large number of injuries in our team. We were not able to field our full team and contest to our ability however, we cannot make excuses and can only look forward to playing them again in the league at the Coast home grounds which I am sure will be another close battle!

      1. Thanks for clarifying that, you two! Good to get the real story and that’ll teach me to listen to sideline gossip. Hope everyone gets well soon and if it fits my schedule I’d love to come to Stanmore Bay and cover the re-match!

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