The cream rose to the top, even with the handicap system, as local teams Waikanae Beach Boys and KCU Sopranos battled out the final of the Erin Walter Memorial Cup on Saturday 3rd October. The Beach Boys prevailed 3-2 on handicap over recent HK Cup winners Sopranos after the Sopranos had managed to equalise on handicap following a superbly taken goal mid-way through the second half.
The Beach Boys built a handy 2-0 lead early in the second half thanks to goals by Sean Wilson and Matthew Rush, but with a Sopranos goal worth two points to the Beach Boys one, the scores were equalised following a great finish by Sopranos that left keeper Tobi Cerhak no chance and the scores all square on handicap. A re-energised Beach Boys attacked the Sopranos looking for the winner which Chris Hawley-Stone managed to put away with just minutes remaining to seal the win for Beach Boys 3-2 on handicap and 3-1 on the field.
Despite both teams having played five games in pool play to reach the final it was an energetic and fast paced game. For the winners Taylor Newman was all class in defence while Alex Andrews and Matthew Rush were constant threats on attack.
The tournament, commemorating past President and club stalwart Erin Walter whom tragically passed away in 2015, is usually held as a pre-season event, however with the Covid-19 situation worsening in March the tournament was postponed. There were some nervous moments as the region returned to Covid level 2 in September before a return to level 1 ensured the tournament could go ahead.
Six local and regional teams joined six Waikanae based teams in two groups of pool play to determine the finalists. Marist, Island Bay and Onslow joined Manakau, Paekakariki and the KCU Sopranos in challenging Waikanae club teams the Beach Boys, Jets, Strollers, Wanderers, Coasters and a combined Hawks/Ladyhawks team. Fortunately the rain held off on an overcast and at times blustery day at a picturesque Otataraua Park. With Beach Boys and Sopranos winning their respective pool play on handicap the finalists were found while the remaining teams undertook a cross-pool 11 man penalty shoot-out to determine the final placings.
At the presentation tournament organiser and club Vice-President Dave Horton thanked the teams, referees, sponsors and those assisting with the set-up and barbeque shop. Club President Charlie Sturman in turn thanked Dave Horton for once again organising a great day out with plenty of fun and camaraderie mixed in with an ample amount of football.
With the local season now at a conclusion all that remains is to wish both Waikanae teams – under the guise of the Saints and the Jets – all the best at the Picton Picnic football tournament on 10/11 October.