Three Kings United 0, Central United 5
Keith Hay Park, Auckland, September 17 2016
It’s taken me a few years, but today I finally managed to finish off a feat I’ve been aiming towards for quite some time – managing to be in all the right places at all the right times to see all four NRFL trophies presented in the same season! Last year it was the Premier Division trophy I missed out on, as it was won by Eastern Suburbs on the same day that Forrest Hill Milford clinched Division 1 and I had to choose one or the other.
But this year I saw Three Kings beat Glenfield to clinch Women’s Premier, Waitakere beat Hibiscus Coast to clinch Division 1, then Manukau beat Ngaruawahia to clinch Division 2, and today was the final piece in the jigsaw. Well, all but…
There was also the small matter of Birkenhead United, fresh from their Chatham Cup triumph, playing Hamilton Wanderers down at Porritt Stadium. They have a whopping three games in hand thanks to their cup run and remained the only team who could catch Central if they won all of those three games and Central slipped up today. They held up their end of the bargain, winning 4-2, but let’s get real – Central were never going to let this slip. Choking simply isn’t in the DNA of this football club.
Three Kings started strongly but it only took the better part of ten minutes for Central to draw first blood via Nicolas Zambrano. From that point on they never looked like relinquishing their lead. I thought at half time, even with Central still only ahead by the barest of margins, that it would be best for all concerned if they simply gave the trophy to Central then and there so we could all get out of the wind and rain!
But nothing doing. Formalities had to be observed and they certainly were as Central stepped on the gas and roared off leaving poor old Three Kings coughing in the dust. Goals to Scott Hilliar just past the hour mark and again with thirteen minutes to go put the result beyond doubt before Regont Murati made it four and Zambrano five to well and truly ice the cake.
Central celebrated their first Northern League triumph since 2008 with great gusto and well they should! They were the most consistent side in the Premier Division throughout the season and it was only proper that they got to lift the trophy at the end of it. A fitting send-off too for José Figueira who will be in charge of another yellow team – Team Wellington – in this summer’s Stirling Sports Premiership before he takes up a role with Central League heavyweights Miramar Rangers next winter.
There were two things that made the afternoon slightly weird for me. The first was the fact that all the trees that used to line the Eastern edge of the Keith Hay number one have been cleared to make way for their soon to be built flash new clubrooms. It was a completely different place to the one I’m used to visiting and a vast improvement already I must say.
The second weird thing happened as I was leaving. I saw someone had mentioned me in a Tweet, so I pulled the car over to tap out a reply. Next thing I know three well-dressed middle class types piled into my car! They closed the doors, one in the front, two in the back, and started making themselves comfortable while I just gaped at them with my mouth open wide… I spluttered “what are you guys doing?” There was a moment of silence, then the penny dropped… They thought I was their Uber driver!
The trials and tribulations of blogging football in Aotearoa! Now that the winter season is almost done and dusted I look forward to the adventures that the summer brings!
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.