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Cooked

Norwest United 0, Eastern Suburbs 7
Huapai Domain, Auckland, April 4 2017

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Last weekend was Rivalism Weekend, but I wasn’t planning on letting that stop me from road tripping down to Hamilton for today’s Derby della Tron. I had been immensely looking forward to seeing Hamilton Wanderers and Claudelands Rovers face off all week. Former Football fern and local hero Sarah McLaughlin is back playing for Rovers again after a long injury enforced absence. It would have been wonderkid Britney Cunningham Lee’s first appearance since her transfer to Wanderers from Papatoetoe. And the last time I saw those two clubs face off it was an eventful 2-2 draw to say the least.

But much to my annoyance, while the weather didn’t end up being quite as destructive as Civil Defence had feared, Cyclone Cook still had the last laugh when it came to the football calendar – heavy rain in Hamilton forcing the undisputed match of the round to be postponed.

There’s no women’s premier football scheduled in Auckland over Easter after today, unless the Tron Derby is rescheduled for Monday, so men’s football was not an option for me today. That left three fixtures: Norwest v Eastern Suburbs, Three Kings v Glenfield or Northland v Forrest Hill. I watched both Glenfield and FHM last week, so by process of elimination there was no choice at all in the end!

Every cloud has a silver lining of course. Knowing Good Friday traffic as I do only too well, I was planning to get up super early to get to Hamilton with plenty of time to spare. (Take note Western Springs!) But since the plan was now to head to the closest Women’s Premier club to my house by a considerable margin, I could roll out of bed at lunch time and still have time for a leisurely breakfast before the 1pm kickoff! If I was that way inclined…

Despite the spectre of cyclones, it was a fairly typical Auckland day. Heavy rain was mixed with brilliant sunshine in strict rotation.

Huapai Domain was very much in keeping with of all of the above in many respects. A lot of it was in a state approximating a traditional football pitch, but then every so often there was a section of Amazon Rainforest that one worried a player might venture into and never be seen or heard from again. Apparently yesterday was Auckland Council’s mowing day but, like with the fixture list, our mate Cook had other ideas.

The game wasn’t really what you might call a contest. I was a bit surprised. I looked at Wanderers, who drew with Glenfield in round one, getting soundly beaten in Huapai last week and drew the conclusion that Norwest were probably quite decent. But either the previously unbeaten Westies had an off day today, Eastern Suburbs had an on day, a mixture of both, or Eastern Suburbs are just scarily good. I’m not entirely sure which one it is but I’m leaning towards option D.

Aimee Phillips had an outstanding game – not that there are any surprises there. She had her first half hat-trick by the 26th minute and she could well have had five by that point with at least two golden opportunities not converted. Grace Jale got her own name on the score sheet just a minute after Phillips’ third and that gave us a half time score of 4-0 to the visitors.

Norwest got themselves into the game a bit more in the second half – either that or Suburbs eased off a bit. But that didn’t stop Phillips from adding a fourth with a lovely little chipped finish over Nadia Olla from close range. Substitute Amber Whitley grabbed a cheeky double in the last ten minutes to complete the rout.

Elsewhere I note that Glenfield duly lost to Three Kings just five days after I not so subtly picked them to win the league. Oops. My bad.

So it seems we now we have our two front runners! At the risk of jinxing them too, Three Kings and Eastern Suburbs look like the teams to beat after three rounds. They meet in round six, on the 7th of May. That sound you hear is my smoke alarms going off due to the friction generated by my pen feverishly circling that date in my calendar.

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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