150 games pretty special - Ridden

Andrew Ridden. Photo: GERARD O'BRIEN
Andrew Ridden. Photo: GERARD O'BRIEN
It is such a perfect number you would think it was planned.

In reality it was pure luck Andrew Ridden finished his Caversham career on 150 matches.

The 25-year-old captain and midfielder brought up the milestone against Cashmere Technical last Saturday, the club's final game of the season.

It was his final match for Caversham, too.

He is set to move to the Gold Coast alongside partner Cara and 18-month-old daughter Poppy in December.

While being unaware of the milestone until he read the match programme, he was thrilled to have brought it up.

"It's a pretty special number.

"I guess you realise how special it is when you hear people in the club talking about people who have played in the past, bringing up stories from years back.

"To play that many games for a club like this is pretty special."

While a top achievement in any era, it is becoming rarer these days.

Players are dropping out of top-level club sport at a higher rate.

On top of that, the student population often leaves Dunedin, meaning players' careers are capped at three or four seasons.

Ridden did admit it felt like a lot of games and a number he did not expect to reach.

"I never thought I'd get to that many when I first started.

"In Dunedin you don't seem to play as many games as other areas of the country as well, so it seems like a harder number to get to.

"I had a colleague play 100 games recently. He was there a few years less than me, but it's pretty awesome to see guys reaching those numbers."

Ridden moved to Dunedin from Invercargill in 2012, initially to play for the Otago Youth team.

Otago United head coach of the time, Richard Murray, who returned to coach Caversham this year, invited him to Caversham.

That proved the key lure and he has never been tempted to leave.

In that time, the club has had plenty of success, although the 2016 season was particularly memorable.

The side won every game and capped the season by winning the South Island title

"That was pretty special as a group to be able to do that.

"I don't know if a team would ever do that for a long time again in Dunedin.

"The competition's quite tight, but we had a great team and it was really special to do that."

In that time he also played 80 national premiership matches for Southern United and scored nine goals for the club.

He did not play the past season for family reasons, but will miss representing the region.

Football will figure in his life on the Gold Coast and he hopes to continue working as an early childhood teacher.


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