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Hamilton – kicking arse since yesterday!

Norwest United 0, Claudelands Rovers 11
Huapai Domain, Auckland, March 29 2015

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We might be getting our arses handed to us in the cricket, but who cares? They can bowl us out for under 200, they can tell us that the MCG is too big for us, and they can make all the sheep jokes they like! They can do all those things and more because of two things:

  1. They can never take Tuesday night at Eden Park away from us, and;
  2. The only thing that really matters is that NRFL is back again!

Oh yes, it’s true, the NRFL being back is much better than New Zealand winning the Cricket World Cup! If you offered me a choice of New Zealand winning the Cricket World Cup OR the NRFL being back, and I couldn’t have both, I would totally choose the NRFL being back. No, really, I would.

Seriously, I am fine because the one thing I would actually, truly, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die, give serious consideration to swapping for New Zealand winning the Cricket World Cup, is Hamilton teams doing the double and winning both the NRFL men’s and women’s premier divisions. And from what I have seen this weekend, I actually think this year could see the best chance of exactly that happening there has ever been!

Unlike the last couple of years, when I started the new season by walking to watch my respective local teams, this year my week one choices were slightly restricted. Somehow, on my rounds photographing pitches last weekend, I managed to get a spot of something unhelpful on my camera’s sensor resulting in blotches on all my photos. So off to Palmerston North it was sent to get serviced by, would you believe it, the only authorised Sony Alpha service centre in the country. It won’t be back until next week so in the meantime I was forced to slum it with a friend’s Canon (actually a pretty damn nice camera) which was only available to borrow on Sunday.

That meant the only league in Auckland I could photograph this weekend was Women’s Premier, so I decided to head to my local Women’s Premier club – Norwest United which is by far the closest to my house, a mere 10 minutes’ drive away. The added benefit of this was I got to see my favourite team in the league, Hamilton’s Claudelands Rovers!

I didn’t pick this game because I was expecting a close contest, and that’s just as well because it absolutely wasn’t. It was an utter blood bath. The joint biggest bloodbath I have ever seen in fact, equalling the record set by Claudelands Rovers when I saw them beat Papamoa by an identical scoreline in April 2012.

This was always on the cards once again just looking at the team sheets before the game. Norwest were missing some key players, unavailable I was told due to a school trip, while Claudelands are a virtual WaiBOP national league team plus three great young players from the New Zealand Development side in Issy Coombes, Paige Satchell and Tayla Christensen. Based on their squad on paper and their form today, I’m here to tell you these ladies are genuine title threats.

It doesn’t hurt their fortunes either, that Football Fern Helen Collins seems to have fallen out of favour with the National Team selectors. To me, she is the Francesco Totti of New Zealand Football and she even gives Helen Clark a run for her money as my favourite Helen! I can’t wait to see her work her way back into top form at the expense of New Zealand club defences.

She didn’t have a great day today, but plenty of her team mates chipped in and showed that there are plenty of attacking options for the team in red this year. Bethany Witt got a hat trick, Kate Loye and Tayla Christensen bagged doubles and there were goals to Paige Satchell, Jeanette Adams, Helen Collins as well as an own goal. The statement was clear to the rest of the league – look out, here we come.

Not wanting to miss out on any opening weekend excitement, I also headed cameraless over to Bay City Park to watch East Coast Bays take on Hamilton Wanderers on Saturday, where I witnessed yet another comprehensive victory by a Hamilton side! Despite Bays grabbing the early lead against the run of play, Wanderers deservedly hit back with two well taken goals. Then Bays went down to ten men thanks to a second yellow for captain Joe Breshnahan, then nine men thanks to the same for Alec Solomons, at which point the 2013 champions capitulated to a 4-1 defeat. Despite the lop-sided nature of the number of players on each team, Wanderers were impressive and I’m picking them to give men’s premier a pretty good shake this year too.

This only really leaves one thing to say – MOOLOO OLE OLE OLE!!!!

Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier

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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. Bam, Smash, Te Pow!

    East Coast Bays v Wanderers. 28th March 2015.

    The 2015 Northern Premier league got off to a rollicking start at East Coast Bays as last years third place getters Hamilton Wanderers accounted for a 9 man Bays team 4-1. It’s a bigger league this year. 12 teams instead of 10 and 10 away trips to Auckland for the Hamilton lads. With two North Shore away games scheduled to kickstart the season, the Wanderers accountant sharpened his pencil, scratched his head and did some sums on his A4 accounting page and kindly allowed a bigger bus for the team this season. Mainly after he saw how much weight the management team had put on during the summer.

    The same couldn’t be said about the new look Wanderers team. With speedy newcomers Jama Boss and Bailey Webster added to the lineup that already had Mark Jones, Federico Marquez, Wade Molony, Alexi Varela and Jordan Shaw, this could the nippiest Wanderers team ever, albeit a little on the the small size. The combined weight of these seven players would barely add up to one All black prop in weight joked new team physio Kirsten Laurence.

    New also to the team is the enigmatic Tewi Te Pou whose first contribution came after Bays went ahead, against the run of play, with a goal to their captain, Joe Breshanen. Wade Molony surged out of defense the ball was slipped to Marquez then onto Te Pou who from 25 metres, spotted the keeper off his line and curved a nice shot into the top left hand corner. A great way to start his Wanderers career.

    Jones nearly forced another goal when he hit the ball against the keeper who fumbled it , nearly over his own line. The custodian then took out Jama Boss, eliciting a penalty howl from the Wanderers team that was duly ignored by the young referee. The speed of the Wanderers team was forcing the home team into a series of, it has to be said, brutal fouls. On the embankment, on holiday from Forest Hill, Milan, spectator Dario Clapertonni was more direct. “Che cavolo, what thugs! ” he described the home players.

    Wanderers deservedly went ahead when Mark Jones played a long ball over the defense which a defender or the keeper should have dealt with. However Marquez harried the defender and deftly got a foot to the ball to nudge it past the keeper and into the net.

    Bays had elected to play a 43 year old veteran in goal in the absence of their number one shot-stopper. He was eventually replaced at halftime by a youngster who was a bit more mobile and eventually named the home player of the match.

    A moment of madness from Breshanen as he shoved Jones in the back led to his second yellow card and dismissal. That effectively ended the Bays hopes of a win, although they couldn’t take advantage of a one on one with Wanderers keeper Matt Oliver to equalize just before half time.

    Oliver had a good debut for the away team. He was cool under the high crosses and tidy with the sporadic shots Bays attempted. Centre backs Alfie Rogerson and captain Adam Luque mopped up most threats and looked composed all game.

    Cossey, the sage old coach, reminded the team at half time that playing against ten men can be difficult as complacency sets in. This could be true of some of the Wanderers play before and after half time but in truth Bays seemed sluggish and the threat of a home win was never an issue.

    Shortly into the second 45 Marquez slammed a free kick onto the bar and in turn Bays forced a neat save from Oliver as he tipped over his bar. Cory Mitchell came on for Te Pou to make his debut. Mitchell a two time Chatham Cup winner was a surprise last minute signing and looks the business in midfield.

    A second red card to Bays in the 75th minute gave Wanderers the space to create and score two more goals, one to Boss from a Jones cross (his second assist) from the right and then a second to Marquez from a similar Molony cross to complete the 4-1 score line.

    Ex Waikato football legend Andrew Darlington is now a East Coast Bays club member. He admitted after the game that the Wanderers boys were too sharp front for the home team. He saw Marquez as a crucial difference in the sides but pointed out that Bays were without a few key players.

    Three valuable points in the bag and the Wanderers bus trip back to the Waikato was a raucous, loud music, shouty affair. Winning kind of does that to a team. Nice one lads.

    Rod de Lisle

    Kind regards



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