Legga Legz hits a runaway hat trick
Previously unheralded Melville teenager Leslie (Legga Legz) Kivolyn bagged a hat trick on debut when he came on as a second half substitute to power Melville to an impressive 5-1 away win over Tauranga City.
It was an astonishing turn of events in match where – until Kivolyn’s arrival – Melville had dominated but failed to quantify their advantage in terms on goals, leading just 2-1 before the late fun started.
This was Melville’s most comprehensive win in six outings but with the result meaningless in the overall context of the season, all the post-match talk was about the exceptional impact of such an unfamiliar substitute.
(Ronald) Leslie Kivolyn, a Pijin-speaking Solomon Islander schoolboy who prefers to be known as Legga Legz, turned 17 just over a month ago. And did he ever take his chance when he replaced Golden Boot-elect Jama Boss in the 74th minute.
Boss had already scored a goal in each half, both the result of excellent build-up work from the likes of Wade Molony, Logan Wiznewski and Josh Davies, but Connor Irvine replied for Tauranga with a stunner from distance, over the head of Max Tommy.
Then it was Legga Legz turning heads. He showed fine application to finish three chances in the 77th, 83rd and 89th minutes to write his name into the record books, by expertly finishing off well worked goals made possible by the assistance of excellent build-up play from his team mates.
Melville statistician Ron Anorak said initial research suggested this may be the first time a Melville player has scored a hat trick on northern league debut. Darryl Gibbs scored a hat trick against non-league opposition in his Chatham Cup debut in 1999, while in 2013 Ahmed Zammit scored a hat trick against Mt Albert Ponsonby in his second northern league appearance.
But this would surpass both of those achievements, and also make him Melville’s youngest hat trick scorer, eclipsing Steven Holloway’s two hat tricks in 2003.
The match was played on a very uneven surface, making Melville’s usual passing game more of a lottery.
However there were some fine displays despite those conditions, with Logan Wiznewski again starring in the heart of midfield, alongside Mark Jones. Aaron Scott and Flynn O’Brien were as composed as ever at the back, and Wade Molony made some telling dabs on the flank.
But most of all this match belonged to Legga Legz, who is not dissimilar to Boss in much of his play. After the final whistle Legz was showered with water by his team mates following a mid-pitch celebration by the squad.
Meanwhile Melville Reserves won 7-2, with a number of young academy products stepping into the breach.
Callum Donlon starred with a hat trick, while 15-year-old Colombian-born Melville Academy product Jerson Giraldo scored two. Kyle Wiznewski also scored two.
Melville are away to Fencibles next week, then face Mt Albert Ponsonby at home in their final match of the season
# In the WaiBop federation League Melville United beat title contenders Papamoa 3-1 at Gower Park, with a first half goal from Sok Ven – who turned in another man-of-the-match performance – and second half strikes from Hamish Utteridge, and Josh Nooijen. The Feds are fifth in the league.