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A break in the weather

Eastern Suburbs 3, Tasman 0
Bill McKinlay Park, Auckland, February 12 2018

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It’s been pouring with rain for a couple of days, the guttering on my house is struggling to cope with the deluge and, that being the case, it’s hard to imagine many suburban football grounds faring any better.

I check Twitter. The refs have done a pitch inspection and given it a tentative ‘fine for now’, but there’s a severe weather warning forecast to hit during the match.

Even if it goes ahead:

  • Chances of getting soaking wet at this game – 100%.
  • Chances of getting any quality photos through the gloom – close to zero.
  • Chances of it being a high quality game – not great.
  • Also bear in mind I live on the opposite side of Auckland.

Do I…

A. Go back to bed
B. Go see a movie
C. Find an indoor pursuit to start blogging about – Housie or some such
D. Quit feeling sorry for myself and head over to Billy Mack

Most self-respecting human beings would probably opt for B. But I am very much not a self-respecting human being, quite the opposite, I am a football tragic. D was the only choice I was ever going to realistically make.

And if you are going to brave a football game on a miserable day with a 55-200 lens on your camera, you can’t do much better than here.

It’s been a year or so since I was at this football Mecca, and there have been some changes to what I call the Subbuteo Stand in that time. They’ve painted it battleship grey, added bright blue plastic seats to the wooden terrace and and built a press box at the back. There’s also a flash new electronic scoreboard.

Can’t say I’m a massive fan of these new mod-cons. They detract from the old world charm that I have always loved so much about this historic old ground. Would you slap a coat of paint on the Coliseum and add a press box?

But I’m sure I’m in the minority on this.

Regardless, it’s still there to shelter in on a day like this and I’d much rather they left it there in some form that tore it down to build something more modern. If they ever do that I can assure you I will be throwing myself in front of the bulldozer.

My fears about the quality of the game were partly realised and partly not. Yes, the conditions made Champaign football all but impossible but that didn’t mean there wasn’t any excitement.

The main talking point of the match was the opening goal that wasn’t just after the break. Former Hamilton Wanderer Michael Built’s strike hit the crossbar and ricocheted into the field of play, only for a goal to be awarded that the referee won’t want to see on the television replay.

After that I suspect it’s fair to say that nobody in the ground wanted to see a 1-0 win to Suburbs. And thankfully for all concerned we didn’t get one.

Tristan Prattley curled in a free kick and Max Mata bagged a deserved goal to make it three for the Lilywhites on the day.

As the game wrapped up the rain intensified to the point where not too long after the final whistle the artificial surface was unplayable. It was almost as if the football gods wanted this one to go ahead come hell or (literally) high water.

It was a fair result that sealed the home side’s maiden appearance in the national league semi-finals. The next question for this ambitious club is to see how much of a splash they can make when they get there!

Categories: NZ Men's National League

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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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