Western Springs 0, Glenfield Rovers 5
Seddon Fields, Auckland, July 17 2016
I can’t take it back – Glenfield were my pick for the Northern Premier Women’s League crown at the start of the season. I said as much to anyone who asked.
As I cast my eye over the names they had at their disposal at the time, I considered them to be the most talented, experienced and settled line-up in a competition that was seeing players move to every corner of Auckland from where they had been in the past.
But it’s time to concede that I was wrong.
The chances of me changing my middle name by deed poll to Nostradamus have now faded to the point of no return. With five games remaining in the season, and Rovers fourteen points adrift of the top of the table, it’s not quite mathematically impossible yet but the Shoreites would need to win all the rest of their fixtures and hope that Three Kings fail to pick up any further points at all. In short – that’s simply not going to happen.
But the good news for them, and the bad news for Western Springs yesterday, is that Rovers now only have one goal left that they are free to zero in on with laser like precision – the New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup. Although, only one point ahead of Rovers on the NRFL Women’s Premier League table, one could also say the same thing about Western Springs. This game definitely looked, on paper, like the undisputed match of the round.
But life is full of surprises.
The first surprise of my day, if I can digress for just a moment, was the fact that, unlike on my numerous previous visits to Seddon Fields, I wasn’t allowed to take my camera onto the artificial turf without sprigged boots! This could have been a disaster as my camera set-up really doesn’t allow me to get any decent shots unless I can get up reasonably close. But I want to pay tribute here to a first class piece of media relations from Springs club manager Paul Rutland.
Just as the news was being broken to me that my day was potentially ruined, Paul was hurtling down the stairs from the clubrooms with a spare pair of turf boots for me to wear. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement! That’s how you turn a PR setback into a PR win, folks!
Of course, that wasn’t the big surprise of the day. The big surprise of the day was just how much of a comprehensive victory this was for the visiting side. It really was one way traffic from go to whoa. Not that the one-sided nature of the contest made it dull – on the contrary, the football display that Glenfield laid on for all to see was quite something to behold.
The highlight for me was absolutely Katie Rood’s second half hat-trick. She scored her first from the penalty spot with her right, the second a magnificent strike with her left, the third was yet another sumptuous blow – and all this took place right in front of me at the Northern end – you can’t buy a view like that at a national cup game anywhere else in the world!
Rood’s trifecta of goals came after Sydney Bultitude and Jess Innes had sent their team into the sheds with a two-nil half-time advantage. Springs barely managed a shot on target all day.
When you look at their record over the past two seasons, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Glenfield are a cup side first and foremost. In 2014 they finished the league second, in 2015 they came third, and this year they currently sit fourth – if anything, the league trophy is moving further away from their clutches! But they have lifted the cup both of those two previous seasons and having now swept Springs aside, and following FHM’s stunning simultaneous victory over Three Kings, the main competition standing in the way of a hat-trick of victories for Rovers may well be coming from outside the Northern League.
The semi-final draw takes place at lunch time tomorrow. I give my sincere apologies to the rest of the country, but my fingers and toes are crossed for a double header in Auckland featuring the two best sides that Wellington and Christchurch can throw at the JAFAs! If you are from one of those two cities you can take solace from the fact that I am a notorious jinx. Chances are there will be nothing in Auckland and I’ll be reduced to following events on Twitter while you have all the fun!
C’est la vi.
Categories: NZ Kate Sheppard Cup
A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: http://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/