The Brokers have proved they can beat the Insurers at the game with the round ball with a win from the first match of the 2016 Insurers v Brokers Football Tournament this week.
The social game finished at a 2-2 draw at full time and then proceeded to a dramatic penalty shoot-out which the brokers won 3-0.
Broker team captain Guy Worsley described the feeling as 'euphoric'.
"The team came together, they trained hard, they practiced well, all the set pieces were in our armoury and like any true side had practiced penalties endlessly before the game. That's why we managed to slot our penalties away," Worsley said.
He paid particular credit to goalie Shaun de Vries: "He was an absolute hero between the posts, fearless in front of the opposition and totally focused on the prize.
"We ran over and jumped on him and took the spoils!"
Worsley went on: "This is the first year of many for the brokers of New Zealand to unite together and make sure the insurer opposition are thrashed," before adding quickly: "But it's all played in a social good spirit of course!"
Insurer team captain Ian Pollard was gracious in defeat: “In fairness the brokers were much better this year in the social game, and in my opinion they deserved to win the game in normal time.”
Describing the penalty shoot-out as ‘heart-breaking’, Pollard concluded: “The insurers need more practice at penalties!”
While the brokers enjoyed a taste of success, which was sweet following their triple defeat in last year’s tournament
, the thrill was shortlived as the insurer ladies went on to win their game 2-1.
This game was also full on and physical, with St John ambulance called upon to check out one female player’s bruised eye.
The ladies also nearly went to penalties after being 1-1 until the closing minutes when a strong shot by the insurers couldn't quite be held despite a valiant effort by broker keeper Rachel Greer to stop it.
The winning streak continued for the insurers in the centrepiece competitive men’s game.
The insurers went into a 3-0 lead by half time, and early in the second half the tension went up a notch when the referee controversially sent off the Insurers captain Jared Bates following a collision with the brokers’ goalkeeper.
“It was a very controversial decision,” said Pollard, who subbed in for this game also. “Even the goalkeeper said it wasn’t a sending off.”
Minutes later, the brokers were awarded scored a penalty, also controversial, bringing the tally up to 3-1 to the insurers.
The insurers needn’t have worried however, as despite another penalty awarded to the brokers, the game finished at 5-3 to the insurers.
“The insurers were still the better team even with a man down,” Pollard said, adding: “But of course I would say that!”
Sponsor and spectator Nick Baker from Star Underwriting
noted the high levels of competitiveness on the field.
“Clearly the tensions that exist between insurers and brokers is not just limited to risk negotiation, as both sides of the main game were playing to 110%!”
He added: “It was great to see a pan industry event where insurance was put aside and sport was the focus of the day.”
The afternoon was rounded off with a bit of light entertainment at the expense of various sponsor representatives encased in giant bubbles whilst attempting to play football.
Fee Langstone partner Craig Langstone, who was relieved to remain uninjured after playing for the insurers social team, and whose firm was a sponsor, said three of the firm’s staff played the bubble football game which proved ‘very amusing’.
The overall Player of the Tournament was insurer Sam Hallam of NZI
, Damian Schade of QBE
got the Golden Boot award for his four goals, Rob McKenna also of QBE
got Goalkeeper of the Tournament, and Matthew Hale of IAG
was awarded Player of the Day for the Insurers Competitive.