Women’s cup final: A Melville knockout

The Waikato Women’s Knockout Cup belongs to Melville for the next 12 months.

Even on an afternoon when Floyd Mayweather Jr was in the ring, this was the knockout contest most concentrating the minds of the Gower Park faithful, as, in an all-Melville final, the Women’s Prems beat Women’s Development 3-0.

If the contest lacked the usual us-versus-them dynamic of a final against a rival club, it did at least unfold as a worthy tie – with no suspicion of stacked teams – as two Melville units vied for possession of the world’s oldest Waikato women’s knockout trophy on Gower Park No 1.

Melville club captain Phil Wheatley said there was much pride attached to having two teams contest the final.

“This was a real football celebration for the club and in winning it, a fantastic way for the Melville Prems to finish their season,” Wheatley said.

“It will be a great inspiration for many to see the cup at Melville. This was an especially satisfying conclusion for the Prems after our early-season dramas. We had to work very hard to ensure the Melville first team did not disband altogether after a lack of entries killed a full-season federation league this year, and our coach subsequently resigned.

“But the team regrouped under new coach Laichyn Parkinson, new players were pulled in, and we established a very competitive unit.

“Often it is vulnerability that most strengthens team bonds and working through the tough times gave players the opportunity to appreciate that they are really valued, with their contribution recognised.

“Things often turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out. When you establish positive relationships throughout a club it creates a resonance and an environment where players feel they belong.

Konagh Garrett: Lively in attack.

“Players may forget what you say to them, or forget what you do with them. But they never forget how you made them feel, and this is the edge that allows a club to survive the bad times and go on to remarkable achievements.

“Finally, I think it’s fair to say we were just as proud of our development team making the final as we were of our premiers winning it. The Devs have significantly contributed to a powerful collective energy at Melville and been part of the very pulse of the club.”

Melville Developoment certainly played their part in the final and kept Melville Prems honest, though by the end they were be-devilled by injury. Under the cup deed of gift, there were limits to who they could pull in, and they were replacing injured player with injured player.

Midfield dynamo and player of the day Monique Corkill opened the scoring midway through the first half with a powerful lofted shot from outside the box which gave Devs keeper Selena Timings no chance.

Monique Corkill: Cracker goal in the final.

Monique Corkill: Cracker goal in the final.

It was tough on Timings, who has shown great application in adapting to the goalkeeping role in the absence of injured Emma Clarke, and was later named New Delihi Restaurant player of the day, to go with her unofficial award as Melville’s most cheerful club member.

Selena Timings: Even on the losing team she found plenty to smile about.

Selena Timings: Even on the losing team she found plenty to smile about.

After about 30 minutes Konagh Garrett then earned a penalty when she was brought down in the box by Shar Murray, and Jackie Pretswell effortlessly converted.

Clare MacKintosh put the contest to bed midway through the second half when she scored with a rare right-footer. Her sister Jess MacKintosh was named TDO Player of the day, in her final match for Melville before heading to London.

Leilani Fellowes was a pillar of the Development defence, while Summer Gunn was named as co-player of the day for the Devs.

Leilani Fellowes: Quick at the back

The match was not without the odd feisty moment, though the officials said they did not see any punches thrown.

Melville teams posed for a joint photo after the final whistle.

Earlier Tokoroa had beaten Waikato Unicol 8-1 in the plate final.

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