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Which Wai Wins?

Waitakere City 3, Waitemata 1
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland, July 16 2016

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I’ve seen a Clint Eastwood internet meme posted many times on Facebook over the past week. The message one takes from it is essentially that any adult male who plays “that Pokémon shit” needs to hand in his ‘man-card’.

Well, Clint, you can keep the stupid card. I don’t want it. Besides – having suffered through ‘The Bridges of Madison County’, which was by far the longest two hours, ten minutes and twenty eight seconds of my life, I don’t believe you’re in any position to lecture me on manhood sweetie… And, yes, I admit it – I’m hooked on that bloody game!!

Despite Fred Taylor Park being five minutes away from where I live, I was still cutting it a bit fine to get there on time for this Chatham Cup Round of 16 West Auckland Derby. Inadvisably, I was at the Blockhouse Bay Rec until about 50 minutes prior to kick-off because I’d read somewhere that this was the place to go if you want to catch the elusive beast known as Pikachu. Yeah, yeah, I know…

So I had about 40 minutes to get across town, honk at slow drivers, curse at red lights, get stuck at intersections, pull over at the odd pokestop to stock up on pokeballs, drop Gina off at home, grab the camera, and get to The Fred. And you know what? I made it with minutes to spare. So take that Eastwood, you trump loving Republican germ! My real life hasn’t suffered at all!!

The only trouble was that the relief of my achievement wore off very quickly when a nasty, nasty, Southerly squall (admit it, you thought I was going to say a Zubat) closed in right as the players walked out onto the pitch. It blew right into my face at the Northern end, soaking me to the skin, covering my glasses and making it impossible to take any photos for the first 25 minutes of the game which was scoreless over that time anyway!

In short, I might as well have kept hunting Pikachu for an extra half hour and let it rain while I was driving in my nice warm car.

But once the rain stopped, there was an interesting hour of football to take in.

Waitakere City have been kings of the West for a loooong time, aside from the fact that their throne has been lowered somewhat recently with their drop to Division 1 at the end of last season. This year they are starting to look like the force of old once again, ten points clear at the top of the table, they can secure promotion with a win next weekend. Waitemata, meanwhile, are the pretenders to the throne. But while they are new kids on the Northern League block in name, one must also bear in mind that they have a fair few players with a lot of experience at this level in their squad.

The giallorossi of Te Atatu South sensationally swept aside one half of the old guard in Central United in the round of 32. Could they continue the fairy tale by taking out the other half three weeks later?

They gave their all and never gave up right though until the end but in the final wash it looked just a little bit too hard for the underdogs throughout the game. They conceded the first of three in the 37th minute with a controversial goal. The Waitemata players were screaming for a hand ball, and I’m still not clear who actually scored it. The referees awarded it to Jamie Olausen but Waitakere officials insist it was Dylan Manickum. There was also a further blow to the visitors when their key strike weapon, Colin Gardyne, had to be helped off the pitch with what looked like a hamstring injury. He took no further part.

1-0 was the score at half time.

Waitakere continued to dominate proceedings in the second half with their goalkeeper Ross Nicholson – former stalwart of the All Whites, Auckland City FC, the New Zealand Knights and Central United (amongst others) – newly coaxed out of retirement at 40 years of age – not given a lot to do.

The home side doubled their lead in the 66th minute via Manickum, who then went on to claim either his double or hat-trick – let’s call it a hat-trick – via a nice gentle tap in to wrap up the game with the clock showing six minutes left.

Craig Wylie snatched a consolation goal for Waitemata from the penalty spot in the third minute of time added on but it couldn’t dent Waitakere’s celebrations. They are through to the national round of the Chatham Cup – back in the big-time!

Categories: NZ Chatham Cup

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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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