Six-a-side kicks off 2019 season
The West Coast senior football season kicked off at Arthur Fong Park on Saturday with over 100 players taking part in the annual 6-a-side tournament.
Five women’s teams made the cold early start. Buller High School once again made the trip south to join the Goblins, Westland United and the Dragons Green and Dragons Blue teams. Last year’s main championship and knockout cup winners, the Goblins, and last years 6-a-side winners the Dragons Green matched each other win for win in the pool stage until the last round when they faced each other. The Dragons Green won this game 3-0 to top the pool going into the semi-finals. Dragons Green saw off Buller High 2-0 in the first semi-final. Dragons Blue held the Goblins to a draw in the other game, but the Goblins progressed after winning 3-1 on penalties. The final saw a repeat of the pool game, with the Dragons Green once again winning 3-0 against the Goblins.
The women’s league proper is reverting back to 7-a-side for the season to facilitate four teams. The Goblins have merged with the Comets, Westland United once again are competing and the Dragons will have two teams. On the weekend’s performances, it is clear that it will be another competitive season.
The men’s tournament kicked off in the warm sunshine just after noon. Nine teams competed this year, the largest number in many years. For the first time ever, Karamea Rangers made the trip south, to bring the tally of Buller teams to three, along with Westport Cos and Buller High School. Westland United men’s team is back in action this year, after not entering a team last season. Two Grey United teams, two Marist teams along with Paroa made up the numbers. The pool stages were all close, with only Paroa winning both their games to enter the knockout stage as the top seed. Of the eight knockout games, four were decided on penalties. Karamea Rangers made it all the way to the semi-final until they were knocked out by Westport Cos. Paroa continued their form to knockout Westland United to join Westport in the final. Westport proved too strong in the final, winning 2-1 to earn their first trophy since 2014.