Junior football tourney boosts region & sport
‘‘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.
Dave Pawson said the tournament had strengthened after starting in the mid 1980s.