Mon, Sep 27, 2021 10:08 AM

Waimai women make history

Waimai United celebrates the club’s first-ever women’s premiership title. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport

Jonty Dine

After being on the brink of folding just one year ago, the Waimai United women’s hockey team can now call themselves champions for the very first time.

Waimai took out the premier women’s division in dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon.

Locked up at 1-all after regulation time with Federal Rawlings, Waimai went on to win the shootout 4-2 to cap a sensational season.

Waimai had dropped just a single game all year, scoring 53 goals and conceding just 16.

Skipper Nic Brydon says she was incredibly proud of her side.

“It means the world to the team to win the title as it has never been won by Waimai before.”

Nic says the team has an incredibly close and positive team culture.

“We performed consistently this year and every player in the 16-women squad contributed to the success this year.”

Waimai opened the scoring in the final in the second quarter through Amanda Pearce before Federal’s Karen Eden squared the ledger from a penalty shot in the third.

“Our team fought hard in the finals, we attacked and held possession most game with lots of goal scoring opportunities that we couldn’t convert, they did well to defend us.”

In a tense shootout, it was the experience of goalie Susan Gall who repelled two crucial shots while Nic, Lou-Ann Botha and Alisha Lewis, all slotted theirs to claim the historic victory.

Nic says coach Alan Register was instrumental to their success and helping them rebuild from last year.

It was only in March 2020 that Waimai was desperately struggling for numbers and calling on local women to help save the club.

“It’s going to be fun and it’s going to be a journey, we are not necessarily going to win every game but if we can shut down the tops teams from scoring too many goals that would be a good start,” Nic said at the time.

Meanwhile, Tasman White defeated Tasman Black 2-1 in the men’s premier final, a competition dominated by the two Tasman teams.

Both sides finished first and second after round robin with Tasman White dropping just one game and boasting an impressive 40-goal differential.