Four years ago, the Onslow College First XI girls football team were languishing in Premier 2. On Wednesday night they won their first Wellington Premier title since 1993 with a victory on penalties against four-time reigning champions, Wellington Girls’ College.
It was the first time since 2003 when Onslow lost to Samuel Marsden they had been involved in a decider.
Onslow was seventh in the Premiership in 2019, jumping to third last year and then champions by holding their nerve in an 11-shot shootout.
The Ross twins, Hannah and Nicola, have been at the forefront of the ascent. Together they have combined for an estimated 160 games. However central defender Hannah concedes she was petrified when her turn to take a penalty arrived at 5-5.
“I went up to take our sixth shot but had a bit of a panic attack, so Scarlett (O’Donnell) was really brave and went instead. I wasn’t standing there to go next, I was standing there cause I’m a really good friend,” Hannah laughed.
Year 10 Scarlett scored while her sister Eliza O'Donnell watched on in the losing team.
“We're not a very sporty school so it means a lot to us and the school to win this trophy,” Hannah said.
“At halftime we had to settle down, pass more, and get more possession in their half. They scored the first goal, and we did well to keep them out. In the second-half our energy levels were up. It was still very stressful, but getting a goal was a great booster,” she continued.
Golden boot winning striker Olivia Ingham was the source of the goal. Attacking midfielder Nicola was at the fore.
“The great thing about our defence is they can transition quickly onto attack. WGC had a good first-half, but we regrouped at halftime and switched on. We created a lot of opportunities. We’ve got a good balance,” Nicola said.
Wellington Girls’ won the last encounter which went to penalties against Onslow but Hannah insists Onslow had a positive mindset.
“Choose a spot, don’t change your mind, and stay calm was our approach. All the girls were amazing.”
The Ross twins have been in the First XI since Year 9. Their leadership has helped nurture a side that only has another Year 13.
“Our coach Rachel Finlay has been amazing. She is a sports scientist and went to the 2018 Under-17 World Cup with New Zealand. We have got dinner at our place next week to celebrate. It is going to be weird not playing for Onslow next year, but I’m proud of what we’ve done,” Nicola concluded.
Wellington College win blockbuster Trevor Rigby final
Wellington College have won their first Trevor Rigby Cup final since 2013, rallying from behind three times to dethrone reigning champions Scots College 4-3.
The winner in the 2021 Wellington Boys Premier 1 football final was scored with about five minutes remaining when the courageous Cooper Duggan burst down the left wing and crossed to Zander Edwards who calmly slotted it past the keeper to complete an epic second-half hat-trick.
Duggan had hobbled off before halftime and was ginger most of the second-spell, summoning the heart and skill to supply the prolific Edwards.
Despite the horribly blustery conditions the spectacle was top shelf. Wellington controlled early possession and created the better chances, but Scots flyer Alden Suri was first to strike with his right foot from a Tom England turnover.
Oscar Crowe always runs a mile for Wellington College and when he latched onto a Jack Julian pass and evaded two defenders scores were tied.
Scots captain Charlie Bachelor set up Suri on the left and the cartwheels he performed were a joyful showcase of superior talent. The halftime score was 2-1.
Long balls were always a lottery and a combination of a lucky bounce and pace saw Edwards split two Scots tacklers and fire a shot into the right post which rebounded into the back of the net, 2-2.
Wellington kept on pressing but Rory Best emulated Suri’s solo brilliance with a searing bust and short on the right wing to make it 3-2 to Scots.
Wellington’s third was protested by Scots. Multiple shots in the penalty area were blocked by Scots. Defender Thijn Overkamp collapsed in distress as the ball was scrambled towards the right corner. Jack Julian whipped a cross back inside and Edwards, quick as a flash forced it in.
Wellington coach Stu Widdowson celebrated his 100th game in charge with a title at a second school; he'd previously been successful at St Pats Town. Wellington’s record for the season was 22 wins, two defeats and a draw in 25 games. They scored 117 goals.
Interviews and stories by Adam Julian, for College Sport Media and College Sport Wellington, September 2021.
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