Big cup clashes in store

Eastern Suburbs midfielder Grace Jale goes after the ball against Norwest United in round three of the Women's Knockout Cup. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

The draws for the next rounds of both the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup and Women’s Knockout Cup were conducted this afternoon by New Zealand Football and resulted in a number of notable clashes across the country.

The Women’s Knockout Cup is very much into the business end of the competition already with just eight teams left in the quarter-final stage and some high-profile names will be among those going no further.

The most eye-catching tie is undoubtedly Glenfield Rovers’ hosting of cup holders Forrest Hill Milford United, a repeat of last year’s final in which the home side will be out for revenge. As well as looking to claim some retribution against their local rivals, Rovers also have a proud record to maintain after being involved in all bar one of the past six finals and winning three of them.

Another big gun from Auckland is set to miss out on a semi-final spot with the leading Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier pair, Three Kings United and Eastern Suburbs, also drawn to meet each other. And that’s not the only case of a top-of-the-table encounter with Capital W-League leaders Upper Hutt City enjoying home advantage over their closest league challengers, Palmerston North Marist.

Captain Jonathan Cough leads Nelson Suburbs out to take on Coastal Spirit in round three of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup. Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

The remaining teams in the South Island will face opposition from a different league but it’s still a meeting of fellow title chasers with Southern Premier League leaders Dunedin Technical playing host to their counterparts from the Mainland Premier League, Coastal Spirit.

While there aren’t quite as many giants facing each other in round four of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup, there is plenty to look forward to nonetheless.

Having already seen off a pair of NRFL Premier League sides, the difficult nature of Birkenhead United’s maiden cup defence continues with another game against top-flight opposition in Three Kings United, who were semi-finalists in 2016 and will not lack confidence after thumping Ngongotaha 12-0. Solomon Islands international Benjamin Totori struck a hat-trick in that win while former All White Allan Pearce helped himself to a four-goal haul.

Norwest United’s Hannah Young, left, looks to protect the ball from Eastern Suburbs’ Jacqui Hand. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

There are giant killings on the cards in the three other northern region fixtures with Western Springs, Melville United and North Shore United – who are all in the top four of Division One – looking to topple Premier League opponents. Fresh from knocking out last year’s runners-up Waitakere City, Springs will fancy their chances of another upset at home to Bay Olympic, especially if Adam Dickinson can replicate his hat-trick exploits of the previous round.

Melville also have a hat-trick hero in their ranks in Marc Evans – whose goals helped earn a 7-1 win over Franklin United – but are likely to find the going tough against Premier League leaders Onehunga Sports while North Shore will use their rich heritage for inspiration as they aim to inch closer to a seventh Chatham Cup crown by upsetting Central United.

Liam Hare plays the ball forward in Coastal Spirit’s loss to Nelson Suburbs. Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

It’s an all-Central League affair in the lower North Island where title-chasing Wairarapa United will be favourites to progress against seventh-placed Miramar Rangers while the sides sitting first and third on the league ladder, Western Suburbs and Stop Out, come together.

Down south, Nelson Suburbs face a lengthy trip but it’s likely to be worth it with a picturesque destination in store at Queenstown Rovers, for whom Carlos Herrmann scored three times to account for Dunedin Technical 3-2 in the previous round.

Norwest United and Football Ferns defender Meikayla Moore battles for possession with Eastern Suburbs’ Amber Whitley. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Mainland Premier League leaders Cashmere Technical also have an in-form goal-getter to turn to after Lyle Mathesen hit a hat-trick in a 7-0 win over Nomads United and their reward for that success is a home tie against their counterparts from the Southern Premier League, Caversham.

All fourth round fixtures in the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup will be played on the weekend of July 15-16 while the Women’s Knockout Cup quarter-finals are scheduled for August 5-6.

Jimmy Deehan picks out a pass for Nelson Suburbs. Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

ISPS Handa Chatham Cup Round Four
(all games Saturday 15 July except otherwise stated)

Northern Region

Three Kings United vs Birkenhead United, 2pm, Keith Hay Park
Onehunga Sports vs Melville United, 2pm, Waikaraka Park
Western Springs vs Bay Olympic, 5.15pm, Seddon Fields
Central United vs North Shore United, Sunday 16 July, 2pm, Kiwitea Street

Central/Capital Region

Stop Out vs Western Suburbs, 2pm, Hutt Park
Wairarapa United vs Miramar Rangers, 5.30pm, Memorial Park

Mainland/Southern Region

Cashmere Technical vs Caversham, 2pm, Garrick Park
Queenstown Rovers vs Nelson Suburbs, 2pm, Queenstown Events Centre

Women’s Knockout Cup Quarter-Finals

Upper Hutt City vs Palmerston North Marist, Saturday 5 August, 12pm, Maidstone Park
Dunedin Technical vs Coastal Spirit, Saturday 5 August, 12.30pm, Caledonian Ground
Eastern Suburbs vs Three Kings United, Sunday 6 August, 1pm, Madills Farm
Glenfield Rovers vs Forrest Hill Milford United, Sunday 6 August, 1pm, McFetridge Park

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