It’s taken me a little bit to get going with this week’s offering. There’s just not that much of note to talk about from the Waikato derby of the United’s at Gower Park. But I’ll give it a go, if for no other reason than I need some words to stick this week’s photos under.
I really like the set up at Melville. Over the years they’ve turned Gower Park into a nice little boutique football ground and when a decent crowd comes in, like today, there’s a good atmosphere. It’s cosy, the stands on the far side offer a nice elevated view and the dug-outs are superb.
The pitch, of course, lets Gower Park down somewhat and after all the rain we’ve had it was a heavy Waikato bog for this match. The state of the surface must frustrate the management at Melville as much as it would their players. My first suggestion would be to nip up to Ellerslie under cover of darkness, roll up Michaels Ave number 1, stick in the back of a truck and cart it back down the goat track. Failing that rather reasonable proposal, they could probably go about it the old fashioned way by raising lots and lots and lots of money. A quality surface would pretty much complete this as a football venue so I hope that’s on the agenda for Gower.
As for the match, my observation as a neutral was that it was rather lacking the passion I expected for the only Waikato derby in the NRFL. Sure, the effort and commitment was there and we witnessed some decent tackles but the match didn’t really rise to any great heights and nor did it have a major flash point from which to define the game. It was just a run of the mill Division 1 match, admittedly made less attractive by the conditions.
Okay, time to move on from the surface.
Both sides were missing their leading scorers so we should have expected a paucity of goals. The match finished 1-1, with each side netting from the penalty spot – Tewi Te Pou for Melville in the first half and Steve Morrison for Ngaruawahia after the break. Both were well taken, but the awarding of both were questioned by many of the fans around me. As the incidents took place down the other end of the field and the view (at least from my perspective) was crap, it’s hard to say either way. I’ll just sit on the fence and not get myself into trouble this time.
There were a couple of young Matamata lads involved; one on each side. Scott Hilliar has been getting great reviews for Melville and Bjorn Vossen at Narra has been starting every week he’s been uninjured. Neither of these guys stood out, unfortunately, but then neither did anyone else. Actually, I lie. Aaron Scott stood out in his first start of the season for Melville because he was Aaron Scott and he started the game running around up front.
Just before half time I took a wander to the outer extremities of the universe, aka Melville’s number 4 playing field, to take a few snaps of the WaiBOP Federation League match between leaders Ngongotaha and Melville. I saw a couple of Ngongie goals while I was over there and took a couple of decent pics, so it was worth the walk for the contrast it offered.
Okay, I’m struggling now. I could go on about the surface again in an attempt to get the word count up but I’ll quit while I’m ahead. I’ve made it past 600 words so that’s good enough for me.