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Wahine of Waiheke

Waiheke United 10, Papatoetoe United 0
Onetangi Sports Park, Waiheke Island, August 10 2014

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Postponements, postponements, postponements. What to do when the Under 20 Women’s World Cup is on, and as a result of so many women’s premier players being in Canada there are hardly any games to choose from? The answer is to not be so ridiculous, stop complaining, and look at the glass as half full. Of course there are always plenty of games to choose from! There are thousands of football games going on all over Auckland every weekend, so there is never any excuse whatsoever for having nothing to watch.

With this in mind, I decided to make the most of my day today by picking something completely different, a ferry ride out into the Hauraki Gulf where on Waiheke Island, Waiheke United AFC’s women’s first team were playing for the Auckland Football Federation division two title.

Waiheke is a unique place with a thriving arty slash noveau riche come trendy lefty greenie rural mixture of a community. It’s  a popular destination for day tripping tourists and Aucklanders alike to get away from the big city just a 40 odd minute ferry ride from the CBD. It is classed as Auckland Central for political purposes and it’s affiliated to the Auckland Football Federation for football purposes but in reality it’s much more like a town in the Coromandel than anything resembling anything else in or around our nation’s biggest city.

My rewards for this little adventure were threefold. Firstly, I loved being a small part of such a great day for this cool little football club. Secondly, there was the journey there. Thirdly, there was the journey home. On the ferry ride out I got to see dolphins chasing the wake of the ferry for a few moments – the first time in my life I have seen these marine mammals in real life. A real thrill. Sadly I had the wrong camera lens fitted to get a decent photo… And then on the way home the sun erupted through the clouds and the Waitemata Harbour sparkled in a way that only it can completing what was a wonderful day out.

And just to put the icing on the cake, in between there was a football game! Waiheke only needed a draw vs Papatoetoe United to clinch the crown that has eluded them by only one solitary point the last two seasons in a row. But do you think they were playing for a draw? Of course not. They showed they have learned the lessons of their previous disappointments by ruthlessly destroying the opposition ten zip to clinch the league with two games to spare.

The scoring was opened very early on – so early that the corner flags hadn’t even been installed as a volunteer raced around hastily shoving them in the ground post kick-off. It was Sarah McCullum who took the first chance with a lovely drive. Then only a few minutes later Lauren Murray doubled the home side’s lead and before anyone knew it the onslaught continued with a Stacey Johnson free kick which found its way straight in unhindered. Johnson picked up her second soon after that before the ref pointed to the spot and Lauren Murray converted to take us to 5-0. Phew! Oh yeah, Murray then completed her first half hat-trick to make it 6-0 at half time.

Waiheke eased up a bit in the second stanza which allowed Papatoetoe to find themselves with the odd opportunity down the other end to restore a bit of pride, but most chances were competently dealt with by the Waiheke keeper. Instead of a consolation goal, it was Stacey Johnson’s turn to grab her hat-trick. Then, Alice Reeve struck her first goal of the season (I was told I have to bold that) with a lovely header from a corner that came midway between two more goals from Murray giving her five in the game and Waiheke United their comfortable 10-0 triumph.

There were a number of firsts which made the day historic for this club. First AFF division two crown, the highest ever honour for the Waiheke women’s first team which now sees them compete in division one next season for the first time ever. Also for the first time ever, Waiheke’s men’s and women’s first teams have both won their respective leagues in the same year, with the men also sealing AFF division 2 on the blokes’ side. But despite all this, the celebrations were a little muted today. Why? Because believe it or not the job is only half done! These women aren’t content with just a piffling wee first league title! They have their sights set on the league cup double. And with an attitude like that, who would bet against them?

Categories: Other NZ Federation Leagues

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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.

2 replies

  1. Wanderers v Three Kings Utd

    Tangled up in Blue

    Our first home game for 9 weeks. When handing the out the maps to our players to show them how to get to Porritt Stadium I got a call from Bob Dylan. “I’m in the ‘Tron and all I really want to do is see the Wanderers play.” So we saved him a comfy seat on the sideline.

    On the new pitch, the blue-clad home team won the toss and elected to play toward the club-room end. The new pitch hadn’t seen a goal yet and early action didn’t seem to signal an end to that drought. The away team, bedecked in all white, showed early menace. But Wanderers hosted a plethora of fast and tricky players, all anxious to knock some goals in.

    The trickiest feet on display belonged to Federico Marquez and he was at his wriggly best. Wanderers seemed certain to grab a lead.

    The referee bemused most of the crowd when Marquez was taken out in the penalty area and it seemed a clear cut PK. But the official blithely waved a casual hand to indicate play-on. He was wrong and sadly he was to get worse in the second half.

    Five minutes later Marquez passed neatly to Alexi Varela who belted the ball over. Then followed a great move where Varela won the ball and slid it to Wade Molony who in turn fed Federico who cut inside well but his shot was also -just tantalisingly so- over.

    Then a moment of pure magic when Xavier Pratt unleaded a screamer of a shot from bear half way that crashed into the cross bar then down to the keeper who somehow kept it out. Holy moly! Was the new pitch gonna keep its virginity?

    Thankfully not. The inevitable assist came from Marquez, a tantalising cross that Mark Jones tried to bicycle-kick into the net but missed completely, but distracted defenders as it fell to Young who clinically volleyed with a rapier right foot into the heart of the net. Dylan waved his gold plated walking stick in the excitement and the small crowd cheered noisily.

    Before half time there was another Wanderers opportunity to increase the lead as a neat Gozalez-Marquez one-two move forced the Three Kings keeper into a smart save. As per normal I had rubbished the opposition keeper who, as usual, went on the have a decent game.

    In the second stanza the home team couldn’t increase the margin but had some jolly good tries at it. Jones fed Young with an early ball, Young jinked left and shot to the keeper. Marquez nearly opened his account with a glaringly open goal but, on his unfavoured right peg, only succeeded in firing high over the bar. And the best chance was when substitute Sunni Singh mis-headed a corner to Johnny Konning who blasted the ball powerfully but somehow the Three Kings custodian tipped it over for a fine save. “Only because it luckily bounced off him” Shane Comber muttered darkly.

    The away side did have a few chances. These increased after Wanderers Adam Luque was dismissed for some misdemeanour to do with sitting in the ground with the ball and refusing to get up, incurring the refs wrath and a second yellow card. We urged him to think twice about it: a more experienced official may have been able to diffuse a rather silly situation. However the lines-person quoted Dylan, don’t think twice, it’s all right, and Luque trudged off for an early shower.

    With the numerical advantage, the Auckland side had a late chance to snatch a draw when under-used Wanderers keeper, Vlad Frank deflected a shot straight back to the away side but their striker managed only to shoot wide with an open goal beckoning. Then the Blue bullet, Singh was put free at the other end and had his left foot swept out – just before shooting -by a Three Kings defender. Both players hit the deck, white tangled up in blue. For the second time the ref refused to consider a penalty and the match ended rather acrimoniously as home fans, players and staff vented their frustration. Thank goodness the score line was on our side!

    So, finally a home game, a first goal and a first win on the new pitch. Our guest departed after a beer. We exchanged mutual lies. I promised Bob Dylan that the lads would all troop along to his concert tonight. “I’ll be sure to play all my hits” he replied. They didn’t. He didn’t.

    Kind regards



  2. Just wanted to point out that the Men’s team haven’t quite tied up AFF Division 2 just yet!
    The mighty Unimount are still hot on their tails so that’s a bold call from them!

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