It didn't quite go to script but the Upper Hutt City women's team emerged triumphant from the slush and mud of Harcourt Park on Sunday with a 2-2 "result" - good enough for them to take their premier title unbeaten and with a game in hand (against the same opponents, Stop Out).
In conditions described by City's coach Mike Gibbs as "the worst a player could encounter" both sides were unable to play anything like their natural game in 90 minutes of havoc when the weather deteriorated even further.
"Sadly it brought a dull end to what could have been the top game of the season," Gibbs says. "Some of the girls felt let down and said they didn't feel like they had earned the league title."
Upper Hutt tried to play passing football at the start and that worked against them early with Stop Out scoring against the run of play.
A brilliant chip shot from Maria Papps five minutes later had the locals back in the game before Wendi Henderson, the former international, made the most of several Stop Out players holding off and allowing her to shoot, score, and bring the lead.
Stop Out equalised near halftime from a penalty, the awarding of which left the locals confused as to why.
The second 45 was reduced to attrition. When a late tackle from behind on Melissa Riddall inside the Stop Out box went unnoticed, City were left wondering if this was going to be their day.
Plenty more shots were stopped short of the line due to all the rain and the mud. "The conditions eliminated the strengths of both teams," Gibbs says.
Still, with a five-point competition buffer, a draw was all Upper Hutt needed to win the Premier League.
"Our focus now is to stay motivated for Sunday's final game [Hutt Park, 1pm] and to make sure we finish the season unbeaten and then go into the Kelly Cup and the Central League play-off games," Gibbs says.
- Upper Hutt Leader