Three Kings 1, Hamilton Wanderers 1
Keith Hay Park, Auckland, May 20 2018
The last time I watched the Hamilton Wanderers women’s first team they were battling through a relegation six pointer vs Northland at Porritt Stadium. Despite prevailing 3-2 in that fixture they were still looking down the barrel of federation football in 2018 right up until their last couple of catch-up fixtures against their traditionally more illustrious cross-town rivals – which yielded a pair of upset victories.
Something had to change if they were going to survive in the NRFL long term. And apparently it has.
Looking at the Wanderers line-up today there were several players who look very strange in blue. I am used to seeing the likes of Kate Williams, Helen Talbot, Kelli Brown and Ella Golding in cherry red and their departures from Galloway Park appear to have reversed the power relationship in the Tron to the point where it is now Claudelands battling relegation and Wanderers proving capable of beating anyone on their day.
The one thing that doesn’t appear to have changed too much is the way that every time I watch them they seem to struggle in front of goal despite the absolute firepower they clearly have in the striking department. Whether this is an actual problem or yet another example of my jinxing prowess is an open question.
Today’s first half was shaded by Wanderers as they knocked on the door a fair bit even if their 38th minute goal may have been a little on the fortunate side – coming as it did as a result of a clearance that ricocheted off a downed Three Kings defender and fell to Ella Golding who dispatched it into the auld onion bag.
But the second 45 mostly belonged to Three Kings. When Sophie Stewart-Hobbs struck two minutes shy of the hour mark the equaliser had felt like it had been coming since the first kick of the half.
Things evened out a bit after that though, and the last ten minutes in particular were quite entertaining as both sides went all out to find a winner, treating the modest crowd in attendance to some end to end football.
Despite the fact that Wanderers could only manage to share the points here, it’s a great marker of how far they have come that I am disappointed with a draw against the reigning double champions and the only team to have beaten table-topping Glenfield so far this year.
Three Kings and Wanderers now also share fourth place on the Women’s Premier table with 14 points apiece – 8 points behind Glenfield at the summit and 13 points clear of Claudelands, who are in dire trouble at the foot.
To finish I want to give a shout-out to whoever was running the fundraising sausage sizzle outside the Keith Hay leisure centre. The aroma was wafting across the carpark as I arrived and drew me in hook line and sinker. We need more sausages at football.
Football in the Czech Republic is famous with groundhoppers for its rustic old grounds and its klobása sausages that fans typically enjoy with a thick hunk of artisan bread, mustard and beer…
The humble New Zealand Mad Butcher fundraising snarler on white sandwich bread with onions, ketchup and mustard may not seem anywhere near as exotic to us but it’s ours and really isn’t that far a cry from the Czech football delicacy when you think about it. Peasant food is peasant food is peasant food and it’s a thing of beauty everywhere.
It certainly hit the spot for me at 1pm on a Sunday! And the latte wasn’t bad either. Nor was the football! A great afternoon all round.
Categories: NZ Northern Women'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.