While it has not been the best of summers for New Zealand sport on its traditionally ultra-strong rugby union and cricket front, one Kiwi footballer has certainly made her mark in Wales.
Indie Hassall wrote herself into Llandudno FC folklore when she scored the two goals which clinched the inaugural Adran North League title for Sarah Colville’s side in March.
Trailing 2-1 to Wrexham AFC Women at Maesdu Park, and needing a draw to become champions, Indie struck in the 57th and 88th minutes to clinch top spot for Tudno.
It was a perfect afternoon for the 24-year-old, who hails from Hamilton but now lives in Caernarfon.
Although the All Blacks suffered a stunning 2-1 series loss to Ireland recently and world Test cricket champions New Zealand were whipped 3-0 by England earlier in the summer, left winger Indie had already done a country not renowned for its soccer successes very proud.
The NZ women’s team rank higher than the men in world football terms. The ladies are rated 22nd best in the globe, while the males lie 103rd, having reached a highest of 47 back in 2002.
The men’s side’s record goalscorer is Chris Wood, who has netted 33 times for his country and is currently with English Premier League club Newcastle United having previously represented Burnley, Leeds United and Leicester City among many other sides in the UK.
New Zealand will co-host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup alongside Australia, the Football Ferns automatically qualifying as a home nation.
The Kiwis recently drew 0-0 against Wales in Spain.
Their most capped player is Ria Percival (160) and Amber Hearn has most goals (54).
Apart from the Indie factor, New Zealand and North Wales football connections are not unknown.
Back in 2016, Marc Evans of Bodedern Athletic broke the most goals in a season record for Melville United of the Northern League, who are based in Hamilton. Marc hit 68 for Boded last term.
North Wales first said ‘Kia Ora’ (Hello, how are you) to Indie Hassall in 2018 when she came over here on holiday.
She loved it so much she stayed, and represented Llanberis Ladies in 2019-20, scoring four goals in a shortened season due to the worldwide pandemic.
Indie joined Llandudno last season and found the net 10 times, including a hat-trick against Welshpool, as well as that unforgettable double versus Wrexham, where she was twice in the perfect place at the ideal time to apply the finish. Scenes.
Her family back home love to keep in touch with how she’s getting on, so hopefully they will enjoy reading this……
Llandudno Ladies FC surely cannot wait for the 2022-23 season to start.