Waikato-Bay of Plenty (WaiBOP) Premiership
Saturday 9th September, 2017
Anchor Park, Te Awamutu 
Attendance : about 120

Cambridge WaiBOP Premiership Champions 2017 The JourneyFan
Te Awamutu, it's not in Wellington and neither was I. I was on my way to the 2017 Chatham Cup Final in Auckland and as that was on the Sunday I cast my net out (well asked on Twitter) what games were on around the Northern part of the North Island on Saturday. The most enticing one that came back was this fixture, originally I thought it would be easy to make some puns with song title's by Te Awamutu's famous sons, Neil & Tim Finn, but after looking into doing that I decided that to do so could be my mistake and I'd be saying I wish I never. So even though it felt like I took the weather with me, I saw red at that idea and decided not to do it (well not too much).

The other enticing thing about this game was not just seeing two clubs I'd never seen before, but if Cambridge won this game they would win the league title and I always like the chance to photograph some title winning celebrations.
There has been a football club in Te Awamutu since 1913, a pretty local club, the only time they have ever been outside of their region was in the 80's and 90's when they made it into the Northern League, getting as high as division three, after winning division four in 1995. Before today's game they were sitting eighth in the league after a mixed season which had seen them win nine and lose nine, more worryingly was the fact that they hadn't scored since they thrashed Rotorua United 5-0 at the end of July.

Cambridge were formed as a junior club in 1948 and added a senior section in 1950, they joined the Northern League in the early 70's and spent most of their time in the lower divisions, they did get up to the Premier division in 1996 after winning division one in 1995. They were last in the Northern League in 2011 and have been in the WaiBOP Premiership since then. Cambridge had a slow start to the season losing three of their first six games but since their last loss (2-5 to Tauranga Old Blues) back in May they had gone on a 14 game unbeaten streak and needed just one point to secure the title. It looked a formality as the  score when these two last met was 4-0 to Cambridge, but then this was a local derby (it's only 25km between the two towns).

Due to the wet weather the game was moved from The Stadium to Anchor Park, which was a paddock nestled in between a Fonterra dairy factory and people's back gardens and one that the local council seemed to have forgotten to mow the grass for some time, saying that it was surprisingly well drained considering the rain that had been falling on it.

Te Awamutu started the stronger of the teams and were playing the ball around in Cambridge's half and starting to control the game, so when Cambridge's Callum McLeod scored in the 25th minute, it was fair to say it was against the run of play. Although it was also fair to say that goal was the turning point of the game. Five minutes later Tom Wouterson pounced on a block made by the Te Awamutu keeper and then the Cambridge captain Patrick Woodlock scored a fantastic header to make the score 3-0.
Patrick Woodlock makes it 3-0 with a fantastic header The JourneyFan
The second half was all Cambridge, it started to become apparent why Te Awamutu had struggled to score since July, they just didn't create anything when they had the ball, and looked like a team that just wanted the season to be over. Cambridge kept pressing and along with some questionable goalkeeping extended their lead with Joshua Clarkin,  Donovan Latham (with two) and another for Tom Wouterson taking the score to 7-0, the fifth time this season that Cambridge have managed to score at least seven in a game.

So congratulations to Cambridge, WaiBOP Premiership Champions for 2017 and good luck in your Northern League playoff game against Beachlands Maretai

Cambridge players celebrate winning the Premiership The JourneyFan