Melville United 1, Hamilton Wanderers 3
Gower Park, Hamilton, September 12 2015
The NRFL Premier season is almost over. There are only a handful of catch-up games left to play. The champions have been crowned. The relegation battles have been decided. The mid-table plodders have finished plodding. Everybody knows where they stand and all remaining fixtures are just exercises in completion for its own sake. There is nothing left to play for, right?
Not when there are still derbies and not when the Three Kings United points deduction is still subject to appeal. Melville are not safe until either all appeals are dismissed or they amass enough points for it not to matter. Meanwhile their fierce local rivals, Hamilton Wanderers, would love nothing more than to be the ones responsible for their untimely demise. Even given all that, yesterday’s game saw a healthy sort of crowd at Gower Park – the place where the first ASB Premiership Game ever to be televised in Hamilton will take place in just a few weeks. Is it just me or is the popularity of football really growing???
There were even a few ring-ins from Auckland floating around… I ran into a couple of Bay Olympic stalwarts who I always enjoy a yarn with. With their season over they had come down for a nice pleasant drive in the sunshine to enjoy some football – and good on them too! Although they weren’t entirely dispassionate observers, given the Three Kings appeal potentially affects them too. The first query on their lips was who was I supporting in this one?
Good question. As I have said before, I love all Waikato clubs equally but Ngaruawahia is more equal than the others. In this case though, if you were to hold a gun to my head and make me choose I would probably blurt out Melville. But really, I was for all intents and purposes a neutral for once in my life.
Much more importantly than my allegiances though, is the glaring hole in the fabric of our football culture that is the lack of a snappy handle for this rivalry! As we know with the Derby della Capitale, the Classico, the Superclassico, the Derby della Madonnina (being played overnight tonight by the way), the Derby del Sole, the Old Firm, Fla-Flu and many, many others – derbies are so much cooler when they have cool names. So I took to Twitter early yesterday to try to find one.
Amongst the suggestions were the Derby della Tron, Derby of the Swandri, Derbytron – Rivalry of the Future, the Tronic, and the Wanderville Derby. My favourite though (probably because I thought of it) was ‘Derby of the Six Bridges’ after some of Hamilton’s most famous landmarks. The trouble was that led to some in-depth discussion of how many bridges there actually are in Hamilton. Do rail bridges and/or sewerage bridges count? And where do you draw the line geographically? Do you count bridges such as the one at Horotiu that is not technically in Hamilton? Eventually I settled on the solution – this derby will now be known as the ‘Derby of the Various Structures that Span the Waikato River in the Municipal Area of Hamilton and its Immediate Surrounds’. Dotvststwritmaohaiis for short. Poetry! I think it will catch on.
Dotvststwritmaohaiis bragging rights went to Wanderers on this occasion – they were quite simply too strong and blew the home side off the park with three unanswered goals before half an hour of the match was up. Melville never do anything the easy way – so much so that if you were to compile an NRFL points table that only consists of second half results, Melville would be in no relegation danger whatsoever. In that spirit they briefly looked capable of making a game of it once or twice, including when they got their goal just before half time, but their weakness is that they simply can’t match the kind of ASB Premiership quality attacking firepower that Wanderers possess.
Hopefully Melville can do some astute business in the off-season and bolster their squad because they got very, very lucky this year. They are too well set up as a club to be languishing in the lower divisions and assuming it sticks, they won’t get a lifeline like that a second time. Sort it out guys because we need lots of closely fought Dotvststwritmaohaiis for many years to come!
Categories: NZ Northern Men'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.