Northern League disgrace: Metro default

Bottom-placed Metro have defaulted to Melville – both first team and reserves – bringing Melville’s 2017 northern league season to a premature end.

Defaults are exceptionally rare at northern league first division level, and Melville chairman Bruce Holloway said it was the first time he could recall any club defaulting a first team game against his club in 35 years.

“And it is probably because of that, that no sanctions exist in current NRFL regulations to penalise the errant club,” he said. “Because Metro notified Auckland Football prior to 12 noon on Friday there is not even a token fine.

“You could understand a club might face difficulty at this time of year with a reserve team, but if a northern league first division club can’t muster 11 senior players they should perhaps not be competing at regional level and should face a season stand-down.”

The default gave Melville three points to take their tally to 50 points for the season, but robbed Marc Evans of a chance to extend his golden boot league and prevented Steve Holloway – not yet 37 – from setting an all-time Melville career goalscoring record.

Chairman’s column from the already-printed Metro match programme

While it has ultimately been a frustrating season for Melville in just missing out on promotion to the premier league, we should not allow this to totally blind us to some significant achievments on and off the pitch.

Our fundamentals as a club remain solid. I expect us to once again report an operating surplus at our AGM in November, while we can all take pride in the drive and initative of Michael Mayne and Sam Wilkinson in instituting the Melville Academy, which has already garnered a good reputation and provided a dimension to club activity we have not previously experienced.

While we were sometimes administratively undermanned for the work required in fielding 15 teams, and probably need to do some navel gazing about why we do some things as a club at senior level, our first team campaign has drawn respect from inside and outside the club.

Sam and Michael Mayne have made a powerful impression in their first season as Melville coaches, having operated with rigour and a real sense of purpose. If a club looks at itself in the mirror when it appoints coaches, we can take heart that they reflect the values, ambition, desire, and culture of the club.

We used 27 different players in the first team over the course of the season (notwithstanding any late surprises today) compared to 25 last year (and along the way lost George Curry, Stafford Dowling, Bailey Webster, Dan Findlay, Logan Wisnewski and Liam Fellowes for one reason or another). We also used the most subs ever, only once failing to use all three by my count.

I can see strong parallels with a couple of other Melville campaigns. In 2006 we missed promotion to the premier league by one lousy point, but bounced back the following season to do so.

In 2013 we again finished third, missing promotion by two points. However the following year we again went up.

So, some of you may see a pattern here. Just miss one year, clinch it the next. of course there is no reason to think next season will be any easier than this. Every season there are at least two Auckland clubs who are really up for it, with a big bank balance and a healthy reservoir of players. that’s part of being in the first divsion. To win it you essentially need a premier league-standard squad.

But perhaps the biggest talking point to come out of out 2017 campaign is this: An examination of league tables suggests this winter Melville have become the most successful “unsuccessful” team in northern league divison one history.

Assuming Melville win today, our points tally (50) would have been enough to clinch promotion in any 12-team season since three points for a win was introduced in 1984. (Hell, last year even 39 points did it).

Many years we would have won it easily, while in closer contests, we would have only beaten the following clubs on goal difference: Mangere United (2003), Tauranga City (1998) and Onehunga Sports (1993).
— Bruce Holloway.

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