Funny handshakes and Japanese Strikers

North Wellington 2 Miramar Rangers 2nds 1
Capital Premier Division
Alex Moore Turf
Saturday 2nd April 2016
Attendance about 25

We've had Easter, the clocks have gone back, the Phoenix are stuttering to the end of the season trying to forget all about it and the winter season has started. My intention this season is to get to every club in Wellington at least once. So I started with North Wellington as my first blog ever was at a North Wellington game, it's also the closest to where I live and that helped as I was going to the Phoenix game in the evening.

Shohei Watanbe
North Wellington are back in Capital Premier after an absence of 10 years and are being picked as one of the title contenders for the season. They won Capital 1 last season by 17 points scoring 70 goals and conceding just 19 in their 18 games. The squad is pretty much the same with the addition of Karl Romijn from Tawa, Justin Waayer from Petone and Shohei Watanabe from Japan.

Miramar Rangers are the reserve side for the Central League team, they finished 3rd in this league last year. However this is effectively a new team with only Chris Conway & CJ Atkinson from last season that could be considered regulars and 6 players making debuts.

The start was a bit odd, Miramar were still in the changing rooms when the ref led the teams on to the pitch, maybe they were a bit scared of what sort of handshakes they would get from North Wellington now that they are sponsored by the Johnsonville Masons!

It took North Wellington just 8 minutes to open the scoring when 2 debutant's combined, Karl Romijn fired in a cross from the left for Shohei Wantanabe to head in. The rest of the half Miramar had the majority of possession but didn't really go anywhere near the North Wellington goal, only having 1 shot. Miramar equalised early in the 2nd half when they were awarded a penalty for handball and Peter Halsted sent Ben Shields the wrong way.

Miramar equalise with a penalty

The game was fairly even, North Wellington were defending well and twice their defenders made vital goal line clearances. Just as you were starting to think this will end in a draw and that will be a fair result, North Wellington's Chris Hutchinson, making his 102nd appearance for the club sent in a cross, which Watanabe sent a bullet of a header from the penalty spot into the back of the net to make it 2-1 and that's how it ended.
Watanabe's 2nd and North Wellington's winner

North Wellington extend their unbeaten streak to 15 games and look as though they have made a couple of good signings in Karl Romijn & in particular Watanabe who will be one of the player's to watch this season.

As always there are more of my photos here