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Drawing Ferns

Bucklands Beach 1, Football Ferns Development 1
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, May 21 2017

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When I made the decision to go to two very different Bucklands Beach games this weekend, I thought they would both be quite one sided based on the table positions of the teams involved.

The over 40s from Rogers Park were unbeaten at the top of their table, while their Bay Olympic opposition were second from bottom, so it was no surprise that Saturday’s score was a bit of a blowout. On Sunday, however, at the other end of the age spectrum, the boot was on the other foot.

Buckland’s Beach’s 17th grade Boys Conference team went into their fixture against the Ferns Development Programme in the same table position that the ‘Westies’ occupied on Saturday. But the end result of this was very different!

Now, it’s been suggested in more than one sphere, and not for the first time, that this was ALL MY FAULT. Apparently my surname should really be “Jinxiordani”…

As we all know, there are some teams that always seem to lose when I watch them play – Papakura, Mount Albert Ponsonby, anyone coached by John Bennett and anyone from WaiBOP – are the main ones that spring to mind. And part way through the second half of Saturday’s game, I was asked by the wife of one of the ‘Westies’ “why do we always get smashed when you turn up???” – Which was perhaps a bit harsh given the sample size of two games in five years! But regardless, add Bay Olympic’s Over 40’s to the list of shame…

To balance this out, however, in my own defence there are also teams that I only see win. Waiuku have never lost in my presence and this seemed to carry over to Franklin last year. My record watching the Phoenix is very good and believe it or not my beloved Roma have never lost with me in the stadium urging them on.

But, and this is the weird part, until now I don’t think I have ever struck a team that only draws when I watch them! Yet this is the alarming pattern that appears to be forming with the Ferns Development Programme. As of yesterday their record this season is played 5, won three and drawn two – no prizes for guessing which two games I watched. And both draws have come against opposition sitting well below them on the table.

Nonetheless I won’t apologise for enjoying two exciting games of football!

The 4-4 draw with Birkenhead United earlier in the season was an absolute cracker and while the goals may have been fewer and further between, this was an excellent game to watch as well – evenly matched, quite physical, open and attacking with lots of thrills and spills at both ends of the park.

The goals were scored by Jane Barnett in the 28th minute and Cody Bryce in the 70th. They both went in at the opposite end of the pitch to the one I was sitting at with my camera – so I am not a whole lot of use to you when it comes to describing them. Fear not though, as there will be video footage on the FFDP Facebook page at some stage so check out all the action there.

I very nearly decided to not go this week, in preference to watching them play top of the table Forrest Hill Milford on the 28th instead – thinking that would be a much better game. But after yesterday I’m happy to accept responsibility, fall on my sword and go elsewhere next week to let them have a fair shot at grabbing a win.

I’ll probably make an unmitigated nuisance of myself at the Hamilton Wanderers v Northland relegation six pointer instead… RIP Wanderers…

Categories: Football Ferns Other NZ Federation Leagues

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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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