Welcome to the first installment of “The Weekend that Was!”, my weekly review of the ASFA fixtures, inspired by D&G’s “the week that was” segment on Radio Sport every friday night.
i’d like to start this post by publicly acknowledging all the hard work that has been put in behind the scenes to ensure the season was able to start on time. I don’t need to name names, as you all know who is responsible!
Those who were with us last season will see that the offical ASFA website has been updated to include a page for the league tables and another for fixtures and results, which will be regularly updated. I will be updating the contact lists and team information over the next couple of days. Our facebook page will still be used to send out updates and to communicate with our members. The website is a place for us (and your clubs) to promote the ASFA to the outside world, including future ASFA members or sponsors.
As with last year, i’ll do my best to produce something new for every week of the season, but i’m not going to promise that it’ll be uploaded at the same time every week, as that is a promise i know that am unlikely to be able to keep. If there is anyone out there in the ASFA Community with an interest in sports journalism/media, who is able to produce something that can be uploaded every monday then please get in touch with me; email@example.com
This year sees us welcome 11 new teams into the ASFA, whilst sadly 10 teams have chosen not to return, including the 2018 Premiership Champions, Kiwi True Blues, who have opted to try and replicate their Sunday league success on a Saturday (good luck guys!). The changes have forced the committee to explore various ways of ensuring we get the balance right between the number of fixtures we can fit into our season, and the quality of these fixtures.
After last year, we were very conscious of putting new teams into our top leagues. Thank you to all the managers and players who offered their opinions/feedback to the various options proposed on our facebook page. Clearly, as the start of the season drew ever closer we had to make a call, and we are aware that the option chosen will not be everyone’s preference, but such is life. I’m excited about the new look format, and thrilled to see the Masters league has expanded for the second year in succession.
The Premiership Challenge will see all 12 teams play each other once, before the division is split up with the top 6 playing each other a second time for the Premiership trophy and the bottom six playing each other for the Championship trophy and the chance to play in the Premiership next season (assuming we’re able to return to our more traditional 8 team league format).
League’s 1 and 2 will see each team play each other home and away, with top two being promoted and bottom two facing the prospect of relegation. The Masters (over 35s) will operate in a similar fashion for the first half of the season, with one team receiving a bye each week. Whether it is split up like the premiership, or played as one division will largely be dictated by the weather gods, and teams abilities to play every week.
In terms of the result’s recorded on day one, it was definitely a day for the away teams, with the Premiership’s Auckland Volcanoes and Bohemian Celtic being the only two home teams to secure 3 points across all four divisions. Over 100 goals were scored/conceded and, with the exception of Independiente, all of last year’s returning Premiership teams recorded victories. The 2018 Championship Champions, HNK, started the season with a 3-0 win over Khukuri, but last season’s League 1 winners, Dalian, were beaten 4-1 by Internationale. Inter can probably claim to have scored the first goal of the season, which came after only 23 seconds!
2018’s League 2 champions, Albany Green Machine, picked up their first point of the season with an entertaining 3-3 draw against Zamantix Rovers Return, whilst the 2018 Master’s Champions and 2019 Community Plate Winners, Old Fellas, were also involved in a 3-3 draw with Waiheke Utd’s Old Fullas. Zamantix Force became the first team to hit double figures this season with a 10-1 win over AUT FC, whilst there were also big wins for Viet Star (9-0), Food4less Oratia Utd (8-2), Zamantix Old Boys (7-2) and Western Wanderers (9-3). for all the other results, please check out the new fixtures and results page, or our facebook page.
Looking ahead to week two, the four fixtures that stand out for me are Spermwhales versus Dalian and Zamantix Rovers versus HNK in the Premiership Challenge, Albany Green Machine versus AUT FC in League One and Old Fellas versus Zamantix Old Boys in the Masters Conference.
i’ll be back next week with a more comprehensive review of the round.