Wet groundsmake for heavy going
‘‘Last year we made the semis and got knocked out on penalties so we're very happy to have made the final. ’’
Upper Hutt City football is enjoying a late season run of good results, on and off the field.
The club’s under-19 players were both good hosts and brave finalists at the annual under-19 tournament at Maidstone Park, bettered only by Miramar Rangers, 2-1 in the Sunday afternoon final.
A few days earlier three of the the club’s W-League champion women’s side were big winners at the 2017 Capital Football Awards.
Wellington Hall of Fame member Wendi Henderson was named Coach of the Year while the former international Sarah Gregorius was W-League Player of the year and 18-year-old Emma Main picked up Young Player of the Year for a third season in a row.
The City women’s big year included winning the the inaugural W-League, the regional Kelly Cup and playing through to semifinalists in the National Knockout Cup.
In the under-19 tournament Upper Hutt beat Petone 2-0 and Victoria University 10-1 in pool play before qualifying through to the final with 2-0 wins over Levin and North Wellington in quarter and semifinal games.
Into its 30th year, the Parapine ITM Bob Bamford Memorial Tournament provides a challenging football environment ahead of the national premier tournament in Napier later in the month.
‘‘We had five games over two days and that’s the format for Napier,’’ City under-19 coach Phil Patterson said.
‘‘Last year we made the semis and got knocked out on penalties so we’re very happy to have made the final. There was a quite a lot of speculation in the clubrooms as to the last time we might have done that.’’
City’s Connor Peirce was the goal keeper of the tournament with the overall player award going to Lower Hutt City’s Ryan Kelly.
Though centred on the Maidstone astro surface the under-19 tournament also uses grass fields. However, with Awakairangi Park waterlogged a decision to cancel the parallel development tournament was made mid-week.
With continuing rain, the main draw was also revamped over the weekend, reduced to a knockout status due to the condition of Harcourt and Maidstone parks.
Ahead of the October 21-22 Napier tournament the in-form City under-19s have another big game. Over the last few weeks they have played their way to the final of the Ivan England agegrade tournament.
They meet Tawa at Memorial Park, Petone on Saturday.
See PRIZEWINNERS, p55
Upper Hutt City’s Carlos Byers crossing a ball against Levin in quarter-final play from the Under-19 Memorial Tournament at Maidstone Park.