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After the storm

Western Springs 1, Three Kings 4
Seddon Fields, Auckland, March 13 2017

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A few short hours before it was time to head over to Seddon Fields for my chosen football excursion of last weekend, it was raining. And when I say it was raining, that is probably the biggest understatement since Christopher Columbus said “I’m going sailing”. Or, equally, since my childhood football coach told me “you’re not very good”.

It was raining so hard that the gutters on our house were incapable of coping with the sheer volume of water that they were being asked to funnel, and as a result the place looked so much like Niagra Falls that I was half expecting men in cowboy hats to start turning up looking for the baccarat tables.

Luckily, in Swanson, we didn’t experience the earth opening up and threatening to swallow us whole like it did in New Lynn. But we did have a rather large tree come crashing down in our backyard and I did have a sinking feeling that nobody would be playing much if any football on Sunday unless they were planning to do it in scuba gear.

At the height of the tempest, around midday, when I could hardly hear myself think – such was the thundering noise of the rain hammering down – I sent a text to my friend Paul at Western Springs:

“How’s Seddon holding up?”

His reply:

“Rain radar looks good. 2pm game might be a bit late but main game should be fine.”

And sure enough, when I arrived at 4:30pm, as emergency services were cleaning up flood damage all over Auckland, the pitch at Western Springs was a little bit spongy underfoot but showing no real indication that it had literally been a lake three hours earlier. The reserves game had been cancelled but there were murmurings of discontent around the ground that they could have played without difficulty. All I knew was I had some football to watch! Thank goodness for artificial football turf.

This game was an opportunity to check out two strong teams in the hunt for Northern Women’s Premier League supremacy this winter. Three Kings are defending champions, while the Hoops have plenty of title winning pedigree in their ranks themselves. Both squads looked vaguely recognisable from last year, with a few handy additions that will help to offset their potential loss of players to the new Development Programme. Of particular note is Rebecca Burrows at Three Kings, who is a very good get indeed.

The first third was all the team in teal for the most part. They would have had a couple of goals if not for some desperate defending including a couple of shots cleared off the line by outfielders. Springs made them pay for their wastefulness right before the half hour mark when a good little spell of pressure resulted in Lily Rose Dyer giving the home side the lead.

From there it was mostly one way traffic. Hannah Wall scored twice for Three Kings, including a thunderbolt from distance to level the scores, and in the final ‘third’ of the match Hannah Blake converted an easy tap-in and Lilly Dowsett rounded things off in the dying embers.

But the absolute highlight for me was the half a game or so played by Steph Trowill. This was Steph’s first game back after a three year long injury layoff caused by a fractured foot that went undiagnosed for a considerable period of time and then a bad reaction to a cortisone injection that capped off a terrible run of bad luck.

Anyone who follows Steph on Twitter would have seen how gut wrenching this was for a kid who loves her football. To be there when her ordeal finally came to an end, and snap a couple of pictures of the occasion, was an honour and a privilege and I may have even had a tiny fragment of turf rubber stuck in my eye for a brief moment watching her back in her element mixing it with the best…

As the old saying goes – the sun always shines after a storm.

Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier

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Enzo Giordani

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: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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