Genfield Rovers 2, Eastern Suburbs 2
McFetridge Park, Auckland, August 19 2018
Well, I’ve only been predicting it for the past three years or so but it finally happened in the year I decided to keep my thoughts to myself for once, rather than jinx the mighty Rovers. And that did the trick, because last week they finally achieved what they have been good enough to achieve for quite a considerable amount of time – win the NRFL Women’s Premier Division.
Over the past seven years they have won the Kate Sheppard Cup four times but until now the league has eluded them over the same time period. And now, with a Cup semi-final derby against Forrest Hill Milford looming next week, the double is a real possibility.
The competition wasn’t decided on Sunday at McFetridge Park. It was decided four days prior at Ngahue Reserve when the Swans did their local rivals a favour by beating their nearest challengers – who also happened to be Sunday’s opponents, Eastern Suburbs. Win lose or draw, Rovers wanted the trophy presentation to be on their home ground and I was especially grateful for this because it meant daylight hours and with any luck some decent photos
It was also an opportunity for me to watch Suburbs for, I’m ashamed to admit, the first time this season! I saw Erinna Wong’s [lovely] mum on the sideline as the match was kicking off. ”I haven’t seen you for a while” she chirped. I had to sheepishly admit that “I’ve been slack” and I have. Sorry about that…
So Glenfield entered the pitch to a gracious guard of honour from the confirmed runners up. It was a risky thing though, requesting the trophy presentation after this game. Because if they had lost, it might have been a bit ‘awks’ as the kids like to say. And the parade was almost well and truly rained on (aside from the fact that it did actually rain at one point) by Suburbs and a player by the name of Jade Parris.
Liz Savage grabbed the lead for her team with what some have described as a goal-cross that drifted in from wide right in just the 12th minute, but Suburbs replied just ten minutes later. “GUESS WHAT??? SHE TURNS TO HER RIIIIIGHT!!!” was the exasperated cry from coach Clay after the former youth international spun and slotted from a metre or two to the left of the penalty spot.
And just seven minutes after that Parris had her second from an acute angle on the leftern (not a word but IDC) extremity of the penalty area that looped beautifully past the outstretched fingertips of Noyer and snuck in off the far post.
1-2 was the score at the break.
The second half largely belonged to Rovers though and it only took five minutes of it for the equalising blow to be struck by Estelle Harrison. Glenfield kept pushing hard for a winner even though quite frankly they didn’t really need one. Disaster had been averted and I’m sure in the cold light of day they wouldn’t have minded sharing the points toooooo much on this occasion.
To finish I want to give a special shout out to the other club I inexplicably haven’t seen play this year and won’t now get a chance to see perhaps ever again – Claudelands Rovers. While this McFetridge game was being played the other Rovers picked up their first win of a tough season that has ended in relegation. They have been the flag bearers for Waikato women’s football since before I started taking an active interest and in that time they have won two Northern Leagues and a Kate Sheppard Cup. It is sad to see them go.
It’s now officially Onehunga Sports v Tauranga City to see who will replace the reds. I’m cheering for Tauranga purely because I wouldn’t mind a road trip or two but Sports would make a fine addition as well. Roll on the playoffs!
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.