Capital League Division 2
Jim Cooke Park, Waikanae
Saturday 12th May 2018
Attendance 27 (not counting the team benches!)

It was Chatham Cup day and out of seven games I could choose to go to I picked none, well OK I dropped in on Kapiti Coast United v Martinborough for 20 minutes and amazingly only saw one goal as KCU won 15-0! Due to other circumstances I found myself up the coast and so decided I'd visit one of the clubs I hadn't been to yet - Waikanae AFC.

Waikanae AFC are one of those clubs that despite the fact they've been around for 40 years, no one really knows about unless they've played against them or live in Waikanae.

They spent one season in Capital one in 2000 which they'd probably rather forget about, winning only once and conceding 94 goals in an 18 game season! They did reach the division two final of the Hilton Petone Cup this season, going down to Capital one Wainuiomata 2-0. It was their second appearance in three years, having lost 2-1 to Capital Premier side Lower Hutt City reserves 2-1 in 2016.

Going into this game they were mid-table with a record of two wins, two draws and a loss. Their opposition today was the reserve team of Central League Wairarapa United, another team in mid table whose start to the season was one win, two draws and two losses.

The first challenge was actually finding the ground, Waikanae's clubrooms are shared with the bowling club but not that near to the actual ground they use, Jim Cooke Park. Once I worked out the avenue the park was on had an east and west side and you had to drive round the block I eventually found the ground. 

Waikanae's Frances Jenkins makes it 2-0 The JourneyFan

Luckily the game hadn't started, as in classic grassroots football tradition the Waikanae keeper was wearing a black jersey that looked just the same as the black tops with red stripes of the Waikanae outfield players, so once that was sorted the game kicked of about five minutes late. Wairarapa United were playing uphill and into a very strong wind and initially looked as if they'd do all right and were managing to attack a bit. That was until Waikanae got two goals in two minutes. The first went to captain Cam Manclarke, who broke past the defence from what looked to me like a slightly offside position, but with no AR's at this level, it was too marginal for the ref to call and Manclarke, rounded the keeper for a simple tap in. A minute later Francis Jenkins met a cross and made it 2-0.

There was a stoppage on the half hour mark when Waikanae keeper, Michael Newall, collided with the boot of Wairarapa United attacker, Josh McMenamin, when making a save which resulted him going off injured and an outfield player taking his place.

Waikanae's Keeper Michael Newall clashes with Wairarapa's Josh McMenamin The JourneyFan

As the game was nearing half time and I was thinking that Waikanae really needed another goal as the wind seemed like at least a two goal wind, Manclarke, got his second and halftime it was 3-0.

Wairarapa started the second half with a bang, scoring in the second minute with a goal direct from a corner, their coach yelled to the team that they could win it as they were playing in with the wind this half, but Tawhirimatea, (Maori god of weather) must have been in Waikanae's corner today as the wind all but died down and had no real effect on the rest of the game.

Wairarapa did manage to get the score back to 3-2, but it was Waikanae that were creating the chances, hitting the bar from a free kick, and being denied a couple of times by good saves from Patrick Wooton in the Wairarapa goal. 

Waikanae's captain, Cam Manclarke was having a good game and sending some fantastic crosses in and in particular his delivery from corners was excellent and Waikanae made the most of this, the rest of their three goals resulting from these deliveries and the game finished 6-2 to Waikanae and moves them up to second on the table.

This is the lowest level of football I've watched for this blog and, I did know not to expect much as it was the equivalent level of the highest I ever played, but it wasn't actually too bad and any day you get 8 goals in a game as a neutral you can't complain.


High kicks The JourneyFan