The Aldo Cuccurullo Memorial Trophy match thankfully kicked off in dry overhead conditions, after morning rain seemed likely to dampen proceedings.
by Dave Da Vanzo
Four seasons of weather on the day did not detract from what was a swash-buckling cliff-hanger of a contest between Club Garibaldi and Club Italia Nelson at Crawford Green, Wellington.
Supporters from both clubs turned up in good numbers and witnessed a hard fought, no-quarter-given encounter, as Nelson valiantly attempted to give the Aldo Cuccurullo trophy some more air points. Referee Gary Oosterbaan let the game flow, and tolerated a State-of-Origin level of physicality, as both sides expressed their willingness to sacrifice limb and ligament to bring about their desired outcomes.
Nelson had the better of the first half, and launched numerous sorties into the Garibaldi box, only to be repelled at every turn by the athleticism and courage of Garibaldi-player-of-the-day keeper Jan Chmielewski...and the woodwork! In the second half Garibaldi started to gather some momentum and put together some good moves, but no goals were forthcoming and the deadlock continued. Time drifted on, and Nelson applied a full-field press (a full Nelson if you will), sending everyone forward to try and take the game by force, and inevitably, this created opportunities for Garibaldi at the other end. With only minutes remaining, the inveterate professional Mike Gaeta took the ball to the edge of the box from a quickly-taken throw in, and sent an intelligent low ball across to a sliding Damian Hannah, who guided the ball with...I think his knee-bandage...into the back of the old onion bag.
The task for Nelson had become seemingly insurmountable, however, they continued to play with courage and vigour until the referee blew time on the fixture for another year. A draw would have more fairly reflected the evenness of the battle, and Nelson should be commended on the massive contribution they made to the match.
Huge thanks to Maria Colucci, Paul Muollo & Mike Gaeta for their work making the game a great occasion.
Team photo (Click photo to view enlarged version)
Antonio e Luisa Cacace Fondatori Della Bella Italia in New Zealand
Antonio and Luisa Cacace Founders of La Bella Italia in New Zealand
Are proud to sponsor the Club Garibaldi website.
Joe and Gino Cuccurullo
Founders of Mediterranean Foods