Norwest United 0, Claudelands Rovers 11
Huapai Domain, Auckland, March 29 2015
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:
- They can never take Tuesday night at Eden Park away from us, and;
- 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
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.