Stuart Whitaker is a sports reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times and a general reporter for the Bay News.

Future looking good for Otumoetai Women

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Otumoetai's Nicola Hongston (green) and Ella Fooks from Rotorua Utd - women's football at Fergusson Park Tauranga - Rotorua won 8-0
Otumoetai's Nicola Hongston (green) and Ella Fooks from Rotorua Utd - women's football at Fergusson Park Tauranga - Rotorua won 8-0

Without several first choice players, Otumoetai FC Women's team went down 8-0 to championship leaders Rotorua United at Fergusson Park on Sunday.

Otumoetai player-coach, former Football Fern, Anna Fullerton said her side was hampered by injuries and the non-availability of players who were representing their colleges at national secondary school tournaments.

"Life has got in the way a bit this week ... that's not an excuse, but all we've said today is go out and have fun, which unfortunately is hard to do when you are on the back foot."
Fullerton said there was plenty of effort from the Otumoetai side.

"The girls ran and ran and ran - but within 20 minutes everyone was buggered. So it's about playing smart football in those times and that's got to be coached.

"Hopefully by next season that's all in there and we can put a good strong team back in the same league again, which would be awesome."

For the first time the Otumoetai club had a side in the WaiBOP women's league - and when the league was split into a first division of four teams and a second division of three, were in the top four. Previously they played at the lower Baywide level.

"These girls have a achieved a huge, huge thing to be in this league this year and we are in the top four. Last year they won (the league) by miles, but they were playing against the local teams who aren't as strong as the team they have played today.

"But I am so proud - every single person in this team has learned something this year, and that's all you can ask for."

With their win, Rotorua extended their lead at the top of the table, nearest rival Northern United only managing a draw against Melville at the weekend.

Next Sunday the Otumoetai women's team would travel to Hamilton to take on Northern United.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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