Waiheke United 10, Papatoetoe United 0
Onetangi Sports Park, Waiheke Island, August 10 2014
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
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.