Southend's lethal weapon off to Australia
Opposition football sides will breathe a collective sigh of relief when lethal striker Tove Crosswell departs for a new life in Australia in two weeks.
The Danish native has terrorised defences in Southland's Kolk Trophy premier women's competition since arriving in the province 10 years ago – scoring a truckload of goals in the process.
Crosswell netted a whopping 44 goals last season to help steer her Southend United club to the championship. She has scored 103 goals in the past four seasons and has made a superb start to the 2012 campaign, slotting 11 goals in their opening three games, including six against Winton last weekend.
The 35-year-old who has also previously played for Riverton, Waihopai and Old Boys' before joining Southend in 2010, is widely regarded as the finest women's football player in Southland. She has been a multiple winner of both the Southland women's player of the year award and golden boot top goalscorer trophy.
Crosswell and her young family will move to the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales later this month, where husband Kenny has a new job.
She said she would miss all the great people she had met through football during the past decade.
Crosswell believed the women's game had made dramatic progress in Southland during that time.
"When I got here 10 years ago, people were just kicking it aimlessly," she recalls. "Now, teams who aren't even doing so well are trying to pass it around. I love to see the growth that's been here."
Crosswell played football in her younger days in Denmark but gave the game up for several seasons, while she travelled the world. She said she had rediscovered her passion for the sport in Southland and had loved her time in the region.
Southend premier women's coach Iain Walker said he was often amazed by Crosswell's skill level on the pitch and said it would be a tough job to replace the potent goalscorer.
"We certainly wish her all the best with her new life. She's an inspiration to us all with the way she plays. I've only been her coach this year, but she's an exceptional talent. She's top of the tree in terms of individual talent."
Crosswell has enjoyed representing all four premier teams she has played for, but said she had built some special memories at the Southend club.
There was no shortage of interesting personalities in the team, and Crosswell said they always aimed to have a laugh both on and off the field.
"I really enjoy my football and have got players around me who know how to play as well. We can play really good football. They're a lovely bunch of girls and a really good team. We have an awesome team spirit and the club itself has a really amazing family feel ... I'm going to miss them."
Crosswell was an instrumental figure in the Southland Spirit women's team, that played in the Dunedin club competition, until their demise. Southland fielded a women's team at the Queen's Birthday Weekend southern regions tournament, until two years ago, which Crosswell played for. She said it was important to have a top-level representative team for players to aim for.
"You need to have a Southland team to aspire to. We get a kick out of playing at that high level. We're trying to organise something for Queen's Birthday this year."
Crosswell also had the distinction of playing a season with the Football South (Federation Seven) team in the national women's league upon arriving in Southland.
Donald Gray Cup premier games tomorrow (all 2.45pm starts) Queens Park v Thistle, Surrey Park 3 Southend United v Old Boys, Bain Park Waihopai v Youth Academy, Surrey Park
- The Southland Times