Old Boys AFC women’s team finds its feet

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The Old Boys AFC Women's team before their recent game against Southend. Photo: Supplied

ONE of highlights of Ange MacKenzie’s first year as Old Boys Association Football Club president in 2019 was the reformation of the club’s women’s team.

The club has not had a team in the Kolk Cup Competition since 2015 and last won that competition in 2008, although Old Boys Women had featured in the Southland Football Awards most years, taking out categories such as Golden Boot, Silver Boot, Pre-Season and Reserve Grade Trophies to name just a few.

“The first challenge was getting a team together,” MacKenzie said.

“Many of the ladies went off to join other clubs when the team disbanded in 2015.

“There were discussions at every committee meeting on how we could get a women’s team. A move to Saturdays seemed to get people more enthused.

“Next, we needed a coach. Many names were thrown around and we approached Grant Wilkin, who took on the challenge and got the team through the 2019 season.”

Captain Tash Cunningham said the team was formed the week prior to the first competition day, with a collection of previous Old Boys players, players new to the club, and some who had yet to play their first game of football.

“Although we knew the chances of winning games would be small, by the start of the second round, we found our feet.

“Although we never won a game, we did manage to reduce the goal difference from the games played against the two top teams.

“We were excited to get the 2020 season started,” she said.

“Most of the team played futsal during the summer. With a new coach, David Fosbender, who brings a wealth of knowledge as a junior football coach, and player from the Men’s Division 1 team, assisted by Krystal Kennard and Lisa Low and the return of most of the players from 2019, we were all eager and excited to get started with the footy season. However, Covid put a halt to this.”

But, the team continued to form a close bond, one where every member was supported and celebrated for their contribution and commitment to the game and the club, she said.

“This season has seen the team celebrate their first win, secure a draw, and get some points on the board. Our supporters on game day have grown in numbers, and no doubt will continue to grow.”

MacKenzie said the team was “a talented bunch of ladies varying in age, and all possess unique characteristics”.

“They are certainly showing a lot of potential and possess plenty of enthusiasm and commitment and are training twice a week with a good turnout. It is evident from the team’s Facebook group they are a tight knit team, full of enthusiasm and encouragement for each other.”

Cunningham said it was unfortunate that as girls got older and entered into the teenage years, they had a tendency to move away from sport.

“But, with a strong women’s team, who are here to stay, it allows the younger girls in junior grades the chance to continue playing the game that they love for the club that they grew up with.

”The measure of this team was even when we were down by goal difference during a game, or playing with only nine on the field, we never gave up,” Cunningham said.

“As the current team captain, I am extremely proud of the work ethic and the camaraderie each team member brings… bring on 2021, we can’t wait.”

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