With the Summer football season restarting after the holidays, we realised that the performance of our Old Boys team wasn't properly acknowledged... until now. Well done lads - Division 3 champions for three years in a row!
(a personal account by Baz Hutchinson)
I arrived late to the party at around 3pm Friday, to find a sea of blue and the bar staff of the ol’ faithful Cambridge Hotel already exasperated. Thirty six lads all decked out in their club tour shirts had come in hot from drinking in Auckland Airport (and most likely the plane and Wellington Airport too) in the early hours and are all now having a sing-song, betting on a few ponies and building floor-to-ceiling towers with the empty jugs they’ve drank from. It is exactly the preparation a sports team needs for their exhibition games of football that will be underway inside of 24 hours.
As is tradition we all drink and eat together in the Cambridge pub only to disband and splinter off at a point where we probably wouldn’t get served in another bar anyway – football fellows have never been accused of being the brightest bunch. But get into bars we do… with the door staff of Courtney Place realising they’ve made a rod for their backs in letting pockets of us cross the threshold to indulge in polite conversation with local ladies and further our pre-match preparation for the morrow.
I don’t remember anything else about that Friday night…
I do remember waking up with a banging head on the Saturday though! This is a marked improvement from last year where I spent the Saturday in hospital through faults of my own: trying to drink through a gastro bug is a road to ruin! We decide which of the guys are least likely to crash our hired minivans and then all pile into our chariots to be driven up to the Hutt Valley. We’re about to play in long standing friendlies against an Upper Hutt team and a Palmerston North team, who are probably very keen to take points off a bunch of JAFAs. No ‘tournament’ would be complete without a pit stop at the Rimutaka Tavern for some pool and further drinking to hone our skills and attributes to make us a wonderful sporting weapon…
…needless to say that we lost both games…
…but fun was definitely had and even more drinking was undertaken. It’s always a pleasure to play these teams every year and we share pleasantries as trophies are exchanged. After just a little bit more drinking, we all go back on the party bus to Wellington to the sound of “Freed from Desire” on repeat for an hour.
After inflicting ourselves upon the Cambridge staff for another hour or so longer, we all again splinter off as teams have some pre-existing rituals at the local ‘Indian’ or similar for a bit of team bonding. For my efforts, I’ve managed to persuade a few of the lads it’d be a great idea to dress up in lederhosen and attend Wellington’s Oktoberfest. I only have glimpses of memory after this. Some of the memories involve me being on a Courtenay Place dance floor in a ladies dress (of which I have no recollection of acquiring) and another of me being sat on the floor in a kebab shop. The worst thing about this is I’m pretty sure I was one of the FIRST to bed!
Sunday mornings with a Cambridge Hotel fry-up is always a time for quiet reflection of terrible life choices made and a solemn vow to never do this trip again… until next year. All that is left is a quiet prayer to one’s self not to throw up on the flight back and hope that your partner is indulgent of your terrible hangover.
Remember… never again… until next year.
Julio is a Brazilian young fellow who played for us last year - a few games for the Old Boys towards the end of the winter season and then summer football with the first team. We discovered not long ago that he published a whole article on his blog about the beauty of playing football in New Zealand. Of course, he didn't forget to mention about his experience with us! The original article (automatically translated in English) can be found here.
We're only a few weeks away from this year's prize giving event. We'll start as usual with a testimonial game: Gerard Montgomery and Andrew van der Laan are both celebrating their 10th season with the club; coming after the game - dinner, drinks and recognition for our best performers on and off the field. To confirm your participation and find out how to prepay for your tickets, jump on our Facebook page!
Waiheke is probably the most adventurous of the Football Fix one day summer tournaments. It involves quite a bit of travel (by boat, car and bus), commitment, good logistics and composure throughout the day. On the flip side, it is great fun and comes with all the perks of the location – the team can make it as big or as compact as they like.
Zamantix Rovers only registered one team this summer, so (no pressure at all) it was up to the Old Boys to carry the blue and white flag on Waiheke and bring something home.
Camping overnight before the tournament day was really tempting and almost happened, but the not so kind weather made the Old Boys change their plans hastily just one day prior. Needless to say that all the accommodation and all the cars and vans on Waiheke were already booked at that point, so it was pretty much a 'make your own way to the field – see you there' proposition for everyone.
The morning ferry was not as crowded as expected, although you could see everywhere football jerseys and players of all sizes and ages – some with the game faces on, some relaxed and talkative and a few others – a bit too relaxed already.
Using the public transportation on Waiheke brought the first challenge. It is a bit of a walk from the bus station to the actual sports park – about a kilometre or so which should be a breeze for the casual traveller. However, this can be a bit challenging if you carry your gear and some extra stuff, such as a chilly bin and maybe... a tent or a gazebo?
Setting up the gazebo was the next challenge, especially when you realise that what you were gifted as a gazebo is partly a round tarpaulin and partly a hammock frame. Duh... who said you should check your gear before travelling?
The third challenge was having just enough bodies to field a team for the first game or so – of course there will always be the odd player missing the boat.
The Old Boys did pretty well in their over 35s group, winning two games, drawing one and losing one, which put them in the third place at the end of the round robin; just not enough for the cup finals – but luckily there was a plate up for grab too.
So here was the fourth challenge: pulling themselves together for the semifinals and finding the B-fields of the sports park, somewhere around those hills where probably nobody plays unless there is no other option. The most difficult part in a one day competition is to be able to negotiate the multiple starts and stops throughout the day. When the weather is that hot and humid and you started playing four hours prior, the sun shining beneath the clouds is not really a bless. For that reason, the semifinals were the toughest game so far in spite of a rather anemic opposition.
Finals brought everybody back to the main fields and (just before the games started) a cool drizzle came to save the day. After a fantastic start and a 2-0 lead, Old Boys lost a bit of mojo and the opposition slowly took control and succeeded to push the game to penalty shoot-outs. No mistakes were made and the fifth – and last – of the challenges was successfully completed: Old Boys have won the plate and the bragging rights amongst the Zamantix teams!
Oh well, getting on the evening ferry was a challenge in itself... luckily the ferry company knew there will be massive numbers of people returning home on the day and kept the boats coming. Never saw a queue that long before!!
The first part of summer football at Bill McKinlay Park ended last week and three of the Zamantix teams won their leagues after outstanding performances throughout the season. From left to right below: Old Boys - winners of the Monday 3rd division, Deuce - winners of the Tuesday 1st division and Return - winners of the Monday 2nd division. Special mention to Force, who claimed the bronze medals of their Tuesday 3rd division.
Winter is coming to an end, with only the cup finals left to be played this coming Sunday - so why not sharing with you a few pictures not only from this season, but also from the last couple of years? Click here and enjoy!
We are close to the end of yet another great season for the club. Our first team Zamantix Rovers I (a.k.a. Deuce) qualified last weekend to the Premiership-Championship Cup after a great contest and our second division Zamantix Rovers Return won their league undefeated, moving up to the first division.
We recently held our yearly quiz night at the club rooms, which is always great fun for all the club members and their families and are currently planning the end of the year testimonial game and award ceremony - another opportunity to get together, play a game of football and have dinner together afterwards while recognising our best achievers of the season.
I shouldn't forget mentioning that our traditional Wellington trip is just around the corner (yes, more football and more fun) and the summer season registrations will soon be open, so more social opportunities are underway.
Today we are launching our new digital home and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all our visitors. If you'd like to join our team or to sponsor us - just drop us a note, if you'd like to follow us - please subscribe to our Facebook page and if you are here just to have a look - I hope you enjoy your visit and will see you back soon!