‘Misfits’ came long way over season

Chuffed team . . . The Balclutha women's football team celebrates an 8›0 win against Mornington with an end›of›season team photo at the Balclutha sports grounds. Inset: Balclutha player Palmmy Papakkho prepares to throw in against Mornington in Balclutha last month. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

[email protected]

The revamping of Balclutha’s women’s football team has sparked some great performances — and some new friendships.

The team, which is now sponsored by Stan Leishman Funeral Services, had been dormant since its previous ‘‘final hurrah’’ in 2019, but was restored by a self›described ‘‘bunch of misfits out to have some fitness and fun’’.

Player Caitlin Sherp voiced her gratitude for the help of coaches, extra players and new friends.

‘‘We were appreciative of the support we managed to receive after everything, from the fill›in players, to our regular sideline supporters to our coaches Rudy Burgess and Doug Henderson. We especially thank [manager] Judy Nicol, as well. We’re very grateful, and happy to have had a solid season and a great time this year,’’ Miss Sherp said.

‘‘We couldn’t do it without them.’’

Team captain Kwan Krongyut explained her pride at the team’s efforts during their first season return.

‘‘We came a long way in our season. Starting off as a new team, no›one knew each other much and we had a few players who had never played football before. We were bottom of the table starting off in the division 2 grade and, in our first few games, we struggled to find players. Sometimes we would be playing with only 10 players, or 11 with no substitutes.

‘‘Through playing more and more together and coming to practice we started to click well. We had a lot of laughs at our games and practices, and we all began to incorporate how each of us played. Before we knew it we were on a winning streak, even against the top three teams in our grade.’’

She said the team had put in some stellar performances to rise to fourth.

‘‘We won 9›0 against Dunedin City Royals FC, Red; 9›1 against Property Brokers RWAFC Shetlands and 8›0 against Mornington. We were all stoked at how far we came and now we’re on the No 4 seat of the table. Very proud of my team and how far we have managed to come. I’m excited for next year’s season already.’’

Judy Nicol said enthusiastic women willing to play the next season should contact her on 0210 650 591, as all new players were welcome.

Following on from the winter season the club runs a five› a›side competition with a men’s and mixed grade starting on October 11. Further information can be found online.