Football Fling 2012 round-up
The first weekend in September saw Western Suburbs Football Club host one of the region's biggest Junior tournaments of the year. The two day tournament saw over 800 of the city's finest young players take to Endeavour Park in Whitby to represent their club at the annual Double Winkel Real Estate Junior Tournament.
Despite the inclement weather that saw much of the two days swamped with torrential rain and stiff wind, an estimated 2,500 people attended the tournament to support the teams involved.
Over 80 teams from the regional Capital Football catchment area, together with a team from the Manawatu, competed against each other to vie to become winners for each grade. In 7th Grade, the Wests Yellow side narrowly lost a pulsating final 5-4 to the visitors, Upper Hutt City. Upper Hutt's own Isa Prins won the Grade's Golden Boot, with Wests Red's Bailee Deller being awarded the MVP for the Grade.
The 8th Grade witnessed another high-scoring final, with the Grade's top scorer, Lucas Jelley and his teammates powerless to prevent his Petone side losing 3-6 to Karori. The Grade's MVP being presented to Upper Hutt's Dominic Hazledine.
The 9th Grade final between Wests Eels and Upper Hutt was a somewhat more one-sided affair, Wests overcoming a handy Hutt side 4-0. However, both the MVP and Golden Boot recipients hailed from a more than useful Karori Reid side. Both awards going to a promising young player, and one to watch for the future, Kees Simms.
Meanwhile, the 10th Grade final saw another Wests team prevail, the Reds emerging as 4-1 winners against Karori with Wests own Joe Godden deservedly awarded the Grade's MVP, and Petone's Mack Smith the Golden Boot.
Sunday saw the early part of the day bathed in sunshine for the 11th and 12th Grade tournament. However, as the tournament and the day wore on, sunhats and sun tan lotions were replaced with sou'westers and brollies, and by the time the finals were due to kick off, the heavens opened. Of course, this did little to dampen the competitiveness and skill of the players, and the finals took place regardless.
In the 11th Grade Final, Wests Lions beat a determined Petone side 1-0 in a nailbiting decider. The MVP, Harmony Kemp of Petone, and top scorer, Wests Ben Waine both involved in the final match of the Grade.
The top Grade final between Wests Academy 1 side and Tawa K9's was another close and hard-fought affair. The Wests team were victorious in the derby fixture, winning 1-0 much to the delight of the 'home' supporters. Josh Rogerson, the Wests midfielder was given the MVP award for the grade, while Lachlan Hill, K9's sharp-shooter took the Golden Boot award.
The tournament was organised by the Junior Committee at Western Suburbs and is now into its seventh year. One of the organisers and Junior Club Chairman, Dean Eagar, was full of praise for everyone who took part, attended and supported the days. 'There's a lot of time and effort put into co-ordinating and running gamedays like this. Without the support of the sponsors at Double Winkel Real Estate, and all the volunteers who help run the day, the tournament couldn't take place. We have an enormous amount of young talent in this city. Football was recently recognised as now being the predominant sport here in New Zealand, and to see the attendance figures here, and remember this was despite some appalling weather, this would seem to well and truly back this up.'
Pete Gillespie, Wests Board Vice Chairman, was also full of praise for the event and for the players that took part. 'There is an enthusiasm amongst these kids that is just infectious. You need to remember, this was the end of a big season for these guys, and it was cold, wet, and pretty miserable out there. Yet, the whole field was full of energy, and noise and cheers. You would have thought it was Anfield or Stamford Bridge!'
The teams now enjoy a couple of weeks rest until most meet again in Masterton towards the end of September.
For full results and league tables click here.