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Chase the Sun

WaiBOP United 5, Waitakere United 0
Waikato Stadium, January 21 2016

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“Da DA da da daaaa, da da da daaaa, da da da, OI! OI! OI! OI!”

WaiBOP United appear to have taken to playing the darts song over their PA system after every home win. And it’s been getting a pretty good airing in recent times… But I didn’t, in my wildest dreams, expect to be bouncing out of Waikato Stadium happily humming it to myself after this game! And I have a witness to prove it. When Waikato Times reporter Andrew Voerman asked me for a pre-game prediction, I said “2-0 to Waitakere” – he told me I was “always the pessimist”. He picked a draw.

There are so many things that make this special, that I have to admit I found the thought of writing about it quite daunting. Sometimes the greatest of times are much harder to blog than any given mundane outing, due to the pressure one feels to somehow do justice to a great occasion. But here goes…

As all Waikato football stalwarts know, as well as regular readers of this blog (I bleat on about it a fair bit), Waitakere have always been Waikato/WaiBOP’s bogey team. We have a terrible record against the West Aucklanders in national leagues and the Chatham Cup alike. Before last night, as it was pointed out by Jason Pine on Twitter, Danny Robinson had played in goal for Waitakere vs Waikato opposition nine times and never tasted defeat nor draw. And what’s more, most of those wins have been in crucial games at crucial times. How many times have Waikato football’s hopes and dreams been crushed by a team called Waitakere? Too many to list.

And here we were again, where we have been so many times before. A must win game for both sides. The winner would keep their semi-final hopes alive. The loser would see their title aspirations dealt a near fatal blow. You can surely understand my pessimism… I’ve seen it all before…

I had to laugh before the game though, when New Zealand Football published a story on their website about Waitakere being out for revenge! Yeah, sure, we managed to smash them 5-1 at North Harbour Stadium earlier in the season, but that was then with little riding on it! And the simple truth is we could beat them 5-1 another ten times and we still wouldn’t be even for all the suffering they have inflicted on us in the past! Besides, they are a better side now than they were then, with a new coach who’s got them playing much better football! Or so I thought…

The other layer to this was the WaiBOP players of last season who are now playing for Waitakere. Aaron Scott and Chad Coombes both played out West in the more distant past so it’s a little bit hard to see them as true turncoats, but I bet their former teammates still relished the chance to get one over them! As it happened Scott conceded the penalty that led to the second goal and, right in the dying embers of the match, Coombes received an ignominious red card to really put the icing on the cake.

Yes, it’s fair to say that this was up there with the most enjoyable wins of my football watching life! It might not quite make the top five though, because the job isn’t done yet. I will look back on it with even more fondness if WaiBOP keeps winning and makes it really count by going on to make the semi-finals. Where maybe, with a bit of luck and a few results going the way they would need to, we could meet Waitakere again when we get there there… Because maybe, just maybe, they are a bit like the Jules Rimet Trophy. If we beat them three times we might get to keep them?

Categories: NZ Men's National League

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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.

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