Georgia Atkinson, making a positive impression in limited appearances. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
By Gary Caffell
Wairarapa United women’s football coach Kim Nye looks beyond bare statistics when she reflects on the performance of her team after one full round of matches in the 2017 Capital Football premier league.
Nobody needs to tell Nye that the stats don’t exactly make impressive reading, five matches, five losses, 37 goals conceded and only one goal scored.
On the competition table they sit last with 0pts, behind Upper Hutt 15, Wellington United Diamonds and Palmerston North Marist 10, Seatoun 6 and Stop Out 3.
All that is a far cry from the previous couple of seasons when Wairarapa United strung together a magnificent record in the lower grades, winning the Capital third, second and first division titles, the latter success taking them into the premier league which is akin to the men’s Central League.
Nye, a former New Zealand representative herself, knew it would be a whole different story in the top grade for what is still a young and relatively inexperienced Wairarapa United unit and so she is not altogether surprised at what has occurred.
“Right from the start we talked about a huge learning curve because of the standard of football at the top level compared to the lower grades and, honestly, I think we are still coming to terms with that,” she said.
For Nye then the pass mark for Wairarapa United through the first round which was completed with a narrow 2-0 defeat by the previously winless Stop Out in Masterton last weekend was whether there were clear signs of improvement from match one to match five and she believes that has been the case.
“The scores might suggest otherwise but, yes, I think we have consistently improved and are now more competitive than we were at the start.
“There is still a fair way to go but at least we’re heading in the right direction.”
Nye considers the biggest challenge for her players has revolved around maintaining their concentration from go to whoa.
“In all our games we’ve actually played really well in patches but we’ve also tended to have periods where we lose focus and when you do that at this level the other team is generally good enough to punish you.
“It’s all about being switched on mentally, we have to work a lot harder in that area.”
Nye is convinced, however, that a number of the current Wairarapa squad have the raw ability to make a name for themselves on the representative scene.
“You have to remember of a lot of our players are still at college and many of them are still pretty new to football.
“They’ve got heaps of potential and if they are prepared to do the hard yards over the next couple of years who knows how far they could go.”
Versatile sportswoman Georgia Atkinson, who has also shone at tennis and cricket, has had limited appearances for Wairarapa United this season but has also already made a big impression while other youngsters to make a positive impact have included the Andrews-Paul sisters, Teagan and Stephanie, and goalkeeper Emma Kruszona, who has been rated amongst the top age group hammer throwers in the country over the past two to three years.
Wairarapa United has no game this weekend and will resume their league programme with a match against Seatoun at Memorial Park on May 20.