Wet grounds­make for heavy go­ing

Upper Hutt Leader - - SPORT - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

‘‘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

PHOTO: AN­DREW TURNER

Up­per Hutt City’s Car­los By­ers cross­ing a ball against Levin in quar­ter-fi­nal play from the Un­der-19 Memo­rial Tour­na­ment at Maid­stone Park.

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