Not even 12 trips to the back of the net could wipe the smile off Jake Piper's face.
The 17-year-old year 13 pupil at Onslow College always knew he would be busy when his North Wellington club side drew 2009 champions Wellington Olympic to kick off the Chatham Cup.
North Wellington play two divisions below the Central League leaders but cup football is built on fairytale results. On this occasion, though, the giants did what they should, crushing North Wellington 12-0 at Wakefield Park on Saturday.
"It was a lesson in football," a chirpy Piper said.
One of this region's better up-and-coming goalkeepers, Piper said he revelled in the experience.
"When you play a team like Olympic, there's always going to be a lot of shots and occasionally you'll get one to the hand that'll hopefully go round the post. The difference in player skill was incredible.
"Twelve's a lot to let in and you don't really want to look at the result. But, as I said, when you play a team like that, you're looking for that one in a hundred chance that you can pull off the upset."
Despite the score, Piper's shot-stopping ability was actually one of the features of the match, as you would probably expect for someone who combines playing school and club football with being a goalkeeping coach for Capital Football and the Capital Kaizen Academy.
"I could never shoot for anything and, defensively, my lack of running skills proved hazardous, so goalkeeping was definitely the way to go," he joked.
Jamie O'Connor netted twice for the victors, while there were also doubles for Andrew Abba, Colm Kenny and Mikey Halikias and further goals to Clayton Lewis, Ryan Edwards, Jimmy Haidakis and Aleem Sheik.
Elsewhere, 2011 champions Wairarapa United beat Marist 11-0 and four-time champions Miramar were 7-2 winners over Wanganui Athletic. Waterside Karori, Wainuiomata and Havelock North Wanderers were among the other teams to record big wins.
- The Dominion Post
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