One for my Dad

Chatham Cup Round 1
North Wellington 1 Wellington United 6
Alex Moore Park, Johnsonville
9th May 2015
Attendance : 80-90

A pic of my Dad not at Alex Moore Park, but Hampden Park in Glasgow, before Scotland beat Ukraine 3-1 in 2007

Yesterday was the 9th of May which unless its your birthday or wedding anniversary probably doesn't mean much to you, unfortunately for me its the anniversary of my Dad's passing. What to do is still a topic of debate in our family, my sister believes we should do something on his birthday as using the day of his passing just brings back bad memories rather than the good ones. So what really has happened is we don't really do anything as a family, but I don't think there is a day goes by where we don't think of him and he was never a great one for birthday's and anniversaries anyway. However I do like to do something myself and it usually involves football as that's the main thing that we used to do together.

And as 9th May 2015 fell on a Saturday what better way to commemorate than go to the football!

So I had a look at the excellent NZ Soccer Scoreboard site to check out the fixtures that were on in Wellington. 

It was the first round of the Chatham Cup and the pick of the round looked like the match between the 2010 winners and 2011 winners, Miramar Rangers v Wairarapa United, however this was over the hill in Masterton, but then I saw the one that made me super excited North Wellington v Wellington United - Aye, OK I am pretty sure I was probably the only person anywhere that was actually excited about this! But there is a reason.

I grew up in Wellington in the 1980's and with my Dad we would go to watch whichever Wellington team was at home in the National League. There were always at least two teams so we got to see top level games every week. Despite watching whoever was playing the team we supported was Wellington United, so here they were in the Chatham Cup and up against North Wellington, who I played for socially in the 1990's and also edited their club program in 1998. So I had a foot in both camps and if my Dad was here it would have been the game he would have opted to see.

The Chatham Cup started in 1923, when the crew of the HMS Chatham who had been sailing around NZ to help set up the Royal NZ Navy, chipped in and got a cup made which the presented to the NZFA with the idea that the Cup be used for an FA Cup style competition. It was the crew's way of saying thank you to the Kiwi's they had met on their travels and for the hospitality they had been extended. So 92 years on I was off to see the 1st round of the 88th edition of the competition.

The two clubs don't have what you could call a rich history in the cup. Wellington United had been to the final twice, in 1974 (when they were known as Wellington Diamond United) and then again in 1991, both times they lost to Christchurch United (0-2 & 1-2 respectively). North Wellington's best season was in 1997 when they reached the quarter finals and lost 3-2 to 6 time winners, Mt Wellington. Their other highlight in the competition came in 2005 when they knocked out Miramar Rangers who were the defending holders at the time and had bought along the cup to the game as well. 

This was the first time the two clubs had met in the Chatham Cup competition

In the league, North Wellington are in Capital Division 1 and currently 1st equal and an average score of 4-1, while Wellington United are in Capital Premier, the league above North Wellington, where they are currently 1st and have an average score of 6-1, so the match up promised to have plenty of goals and so it proved.

Alex Moore Turf in Johnsonville is one of those parks that no matter how fine the weather is, there will be a cold wind blowing and today proved no exception. On arriving I spied the team bus for the Wellington Phoenix Academy and quickly discovered that this team IS the Wellington United first team and that none of their players were over the age of 17. This was the second time this season I've seen North Wellington play and I still have no idea who any of the players are and as they are in a league that doesn't require a program to be produced I probably will go the rest of the season without knowing which does feel a bit strange as it used to be my club!

North Wellington opened the scoring after 3 minutes and dominated the early parts of the game and it looked as if the physical size and strength of the North Wellington men would overpower the Wellington United (or Phoenix) boys. But these are kids who are in an academy so the main thing they do in their life is play and practice football and their better skill, fitness and experience from playing in the National League in summer started to show through and they equalised after 20 minutes and took the lead just before half time. United scored pretty much straight from the 2nd half kick off, its at this time you look at how the team that conceded reacts which can give you a pretty good idea of how the rest of the game will go. North Wellington kicked off and passed the ball straight to the opposition and that pretty much summed it up. United ran in another 3 goals to win 6-1 and they could have probably had another couple.

Thankfully having a foot in both camps I enjoyed the game and wasn't as gutted as I really should have been when my team has taken a hammering. I got to see 7 goals (well 8 as one was offside) and I know my Dad would have enjoyed the way the game was played as well as the goals.

So here's to you Dad, another thing we used to talk about was doing a follow the winner trip through the Chatham Cup, so for round 2 I will be off to see Wellington United against whoever they are playing.

The Journeyfan 
10 May 2015


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