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Autumn

Western Springs quite a lot, Norwest United 0
Seddon Fields, Auckland, March 1 2015

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“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
― John Donne

The first of March marks the first day of Autumn, and so begins the transition from summer to winter. This is bad news for beach goers, cricketers, and leaves. But on the other hand it’s great news for people who hate flies, people who live off rain water (me!) and football lovers!

Or is it? It’s been such a good summer of domestic football from my own personal point of view. We had an absorbing ASB Women’s League, the Phoenix have had a cracking summer, and WaiBOP even had a solid return to relevance in the ASB Premiership! So I find myself in an unusual situation. Until last weekend I wasn’t actually sure if I wanted summer football to end or not!

But in typical Waikato sporting fashion, WaiBOP United put paid to that on Saturday. After their loss to the Phoenix reserves, despite leading for most of the game, the playoffs are now a mathematical impossibility with two games remaining. And with a groan and a ‘humph’, there ends my genuine interest in the 2014/15 ASB Premiership I’m sorry to say! On the bright side at least my interest lasted a lot longer than it has over previous summers, but it still died a few weeks sooner than I somehow came to expect this year! Sigh.

No matter! Every cloud has blah blah and in this instance the good news is my complete loss of interest in summer football just so happens to coincide with the start of the Northern Football Federation’s pre-season tournament! This allowed me to enjoy the cricket on Saturday (ZOMG hands up if you literally couldn’t watch those two Starc deliveries to Boult! *thrusts both hands skyward*) and plan to hit some women’s club footy on Sunday.

As we all know, as a general rule, pre-season football games are as much of a predictor of regular season form as my cat’s sleeping habits are a predictor of Vladimir Putin’s attitude to the Ukraine. However in this case, I think we can read a couple of things into Western  Springs’ systematic demolition of Norwest United:

  1. Springs have quite a good squad
  2. Norwest might struggle a bit with the step up to the Prems from the Conference if that was their best available team

The first thing I noticed when I arrived was Melanie Gooch and Rebecca Tegg playing for Springs  in the reserves game. If they are reserve players then the first team must be pretty damn impressive! This is no surprise given coach Rico Wilson made the move from Eastern Suburbs in the offseason and has brought close to his entire 2013 league winning team with him. Combined with some of the better players from last season’s Western Springs side and one or two further additions such as former Glenfield Rovers captain Rebecca O’Neil, this is always going to be a side that will be a force to be reckoned with.

Norwest on the other hand had many players recognisable from the Conference winning side that I saw play a couple of times on their cup run last year. The notable absence was their high profile new recruit Erin Nayler, who is currently on tour with the National Team. Her presence in the side might lift the players around her and she could save some goals that Georgia Steele might not, but it’s difficult to imagine her being the difference between a good conference side and an upper mid-table prem side on her own. Hence my point 2 above.

The actual score yesterday was anyone’s guess. I asked the ref at two-thirds time and he said 4-0 at that stage. I had counted more than 4 so either I was wrong (which would be far from out of character) or he didn’t check his card properly. I then counted four in the third third so I’m guessing it finished around 8-0 but it could well have been more. Suffice it to say that Springs scored a lot of goals and Norwest didn’t score any.

Not that it matters too much. The real important thing is winter football has started and thank goodness for that!

P.S. Pre-season results mean nothing, of course, but one of the scores that IS on the NFF website is FHM 1, Three Kings 4! Hmmmmmmmm… Cat meet pigeons?

Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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