The Quickcats opened their campaign with a thrilling 4-3 home win against Western Springs on Sunday. Gale-force winds and driving rain tested both teams but Waiheke looked fit, fast and focused from the opening whistle. The Quickies showed great composure and patience on the ball and took a deserved lead in the ninth minute when striker Pachu Lemoine bundled a booming right wing cross from Beta Ruiz over the line. Western Springs were stunned but pushed hard for an equaliser as the game flowed from end to end on the greasy pitch.
Centre backs Delfi Delguy and Illaria Sayles stood strong against the visitors’ nimble strikers, while Mora Stacul bossed the midfield battle with fierce tackles and incisive passes. The Quickies held the upper hand, but Western Springs drew level after 22 minutes with their first really dangerous attack. A drilled pass found their centre forward with her back to goal at the top of the box, and her good first touch and powerful shot on the turn gave goalie Maru Skubij no chance.
Game on. With fullbacks Agus Perez and Euge Verdinelli overlapping intelligently, the Quickcats forced a string of dangerous corners and their dominance was rewarded just before the break when Lemoine pounced on some indifferent defending to slam the ball home. At halftime Waiheke retreated to the warmth of the changing rooms, happy with a 2-1 lead. But the game was far from over. • Carl Grimmer
Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!!