Ju­nior foot­ball tour­ney boosts re­gion & sport

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - ILLYA MCLEL­LAN

‘‘We had around 3500 peo­ple at­tend this year and we know that it is a boost to the re­gion’’

The world game was on show in Master­ton with boots, balls and bod­ies fly­ing, as cheers, groans and whis­tle blasts filled the air around Queen El­iz­a­beth Park.

Master­ton foot­ball club Dou­glas Villa AFC or­gan­ised what was one of the big­gest ju­nior sport­ing tour­na­ments in the coun­try, held over the week­end of Septem­ber 16-17, bring­ing with it a boost to lo­cal busi­ness and a great ex­pe­ri­ence for par­tic­i­pants.

Teams ex­pe­ri­enced the sweet taste of vic­tory and the bit­ter pangs of de­feat, as heroes were made and friend­ships formed. Most of all it looked like they were all hav­ing a great time, play­ing the game they love sup­ported by fam­i­lies, friends and coaches.

Just un­der 1200 play­ers from 104 teams, rep­re­sent­ing 34 clubs from all over the lower North Is­land, took part in 214 games of foot­ball, play­ing for tro­phies in seven dif­fer­ent age groups.

Tour­na­ment or­gan­iser and Dou­glas Villa AFC stal­wart Dave Paw­son said the club had run the event for about 30 years and over that time it had grown to be one of the big­gest ju­nior sport­ing events in the coun­try.

Paw­son said the club held an in­ter-club tour­na­ment with for­mer Kapiti based club Rau­mati Hearts in the mid-’80s that went so well, the phone started ring­ing off the hook in the days af­ter­ward.

‘‘We de­cided we may as well start a proper tour­na­ment, so we did. It re­ally took off to the point it is one of the big­gest foot­ball events in the Welling­ton re­gion now.

‘‘We had around 3500 peo­ple at­tend this year and we know that it is a boost to the re­gion. The mo­tels are full, food places are busy and if you had come down to the park ... you would see the place was pump­ing.

‘‘The skill level has gone up con­sid­er­ably over the years and it is a very com­pet­i­tive con­test. A lot of the teams look for­ward to it all year be­cause it is the only time they get to go on a trip out of town for foot­ball.’’

Desti­na­tion Wairarapa gen­eral man­ager David Han­cock said the tour­na­ment was an ex­cel­lent event for bring­ing tourists into the Wairarapa.

‘‘Many visi­tors will stay for a night or two and this all con­trib­utes to the ex­cep­tional growth Wairarapa is see­ing in vis­i­tor vol­umes and spend,’’ he said.

ILLYA MCLEL­LAN/STUFF

Dave Paw­son said the tour­na­ment had strength­ened after start­ing in the mid 1980s.

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