Rain doesn’t dampen opening day of WPL

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Heavy rain on Saturday saw the opening match day of the 2021 Solrais Women’s Premier League reduced to just one encounter from three, but that hardly dampened the spirits as the competition’s sophomore season got underway at Lawson Tama Stadium.

Last year’s runners-up Koloale had been set to open the new season against West Honiara, but will now have to wait until Wednesday to get their campaign underway. Frigates United opener against debutants Ha’arosia FC was postponed until Sunday with only Haura FC and Solright FC getting a run on opening day.

Haura took an early lead when Tracey Ngalimaki scored the first goal of the season off the back of a quick counter-attack in the 6th minute of the match.

Unfortunately their grip on the lead didn’t last as long as they would have liked, as Ela Vakoto equalised from the penalty spot in the 15th minute following a hand ball in the penalty area.

Solright put themselves in the ahead just ahead of the break courtesy of a Delmay Waihaha strike, giving them a 2-1 lead for the second half. Some impressive defending from Haura had it looking like the final score would remain the same, however with just under 10 minutes remaining Solright found the gaps they were looking for.

Rebecca Masitaloa struck in the 82nd minute before veteran striker Prudence Fula followed two minutes later to secure a 4-1 win for Solright.

Sunday saw three matches on the schedule with the postponed Frigates United and Ha’arosia encounter first up.

It proved to be a baptism of fire for the debutants led by former international Diane Justus’s charges as Frigates put the pressure on from the opening minute through to the final whistle.

The opener came courtesy of Jamina David just three minutes into the match and the first of her two goals of the day. Daphne Vaiyu, Hilda Christy and Stella Puia also got on the scoreboard as Frigates United secured a 6-0 victory.

Marist FC and Borderline FC, another first-time participant, played next with the experienced side once again taking the advantage. Marist’s Elinah Ngahugari scored twice in the first half, before captain Betty Maenu’u added to the tally to give Marist a 3-0 victory over Borderline.

The headline match saw 2020 champions RSIPF Royals take on one of the surprises of that same season, Naha FC. Sandra Wale opened the scoring before a brace for international striker and Royals captain Laydah Samani secured the 3-0 win and ensured a winning start to the new season for the defending champions.

Winners of the Player of the Match awards for Week 1 were; Laydah Samani (RSIPF Royals), Betty Maenu’u (Marist FC), Hilda Sukona Christy (Frigates United) and Sandy Tahira (Solright FC).

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