May 1, 2012
AUCKLAND – A record number of entries from Auckland Football will mean a busy start in that region when the ASB Women’s Knockout Cup gets underway with this weekend’s qualification round.
Fifteen teams from this year’s 28 total entries hail from the federation covering from Franklin to the Harbour Bridge, with Northern Football supplying another three entries, including defending champions Glenfield Rovers from the city’s North Shore and the competition’s lone school entry – Kerikeri High School.
With the competition played along federation lines until the quarterfinals, it means 14 Auckland teams will square of in the opening round along with two from the lower North Island and four from Canterbury.
Through luck of the draw, Western Springs received a bye into the first round proper while the five other Northern League clubs from the region have managed to avoid each other at least for this round.
However, that means daunting fixtures for the likes of Papakura City – away to nine times winner Lynn Avon United – and Papatoetoe, who host Eastern Suburbs.
Relative minnows Manukau City and Manurewa meet in a clash of two of the lower ranked teams in the region while Onehunga Mangere and Ellerslie will also have eyes on earning a round one test against one of the region’s powerhouses if they prevail in their opening tie.
There’s extra spice in Palmerston North as Valeron Wanders host a Stop Out side they beat to win promotion to this league’s Central League.
At Kaiapoi’s Kendall Park, Waimak United will hope home advantage is the boost they need to topple last year’s beaten finalists Coastal Spirit while in Christchurch, Western host Halswell in an all Premier League match up.
The final of this year’s ASB Women’s Knockout Cup is scheduled for August 26.
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