The significance of winning the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup is still special many years on from raising the trophy.
Douglas Law, a member of the Eastern Suburbs Chatham Cup winning sides in 1968 and 1969, had a two-year stint with Suburbs and regards those titles among the finest moments in his football career.
“It was a great achievement and a proud moment for myself and the team,” said Law.
“The road to the final in 1968 was a lot more difficult than the final itself, which was the end goal and the focal point of our preparation. Training and travelling to each of the games prior to the final were more difficult. The atmosphere in the dressing room beforehand was so peaceful and calm in contrast to the celebratory dinner afterwards.”
Suburbs had won three Chatham Cup titles prior to 1968, and Law was part of the side, which beat Christchurch Tech in 1968 and New Brighton in 1969 in the finals of both those years.
This week, the 90th staging of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup will begin around New Zealand and Law will be an interested fan from the other side of the world in Scotland as he reflects on past glory.
“I played in the Chatham Cup final in 1969 as well. I started as a sub, but was brought on mid-game along with Jerry McCormack. When we won, the whole team where presented with medals.”
The Chatham Cup medals were prized possessions and Law lost one of them over the years so he got in contact with New Zealand Football to see if they could replace the medal. The governing body delivered it to Scotland and it was a special day for the family. Eastern Suburbs also came to the party with two playing shirts and a book which captures the history of the club.
Law said it was a great feeling to be able to pass down the two winners medals to his grandsons.
“It means a great deal, I can now give both my grandsons a medal from my achievements playing with Eastern Suburbs in 1968 and 1969.”
Law’s grandson, Cameron said his grandfather’s achievements plays a huge role on his involvement with football.
“I am really proud of my grandpa, I’ve been telling all of my friends about him, they’re so impressed,” he said.
“Knowing that my Grandpa is a Chatham Cup champion makes me much more interested in football and I really enjoyed looking back on the history of my grandpa’s team.”
In 1968, Suburbs played Christchurch Technical in Basin Reserve, Wellington, where they won 2-0, with former All White, John Wrathall scoring both goals.
Suburbs played New Brighton in 1969 at Basin Reserve, Wellington, where they again won 2-0. Former All Whites, John Wrathall and Billy De Graaf gave Suburbs two goals, to win, which would lead them to their fifth title, and provide Suburbs with two consecutive Chatham Cup final wins.
In total, Eastern Suburbs reached the final of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup nine times, and have won Cup the title six times. Their title wins are, 1951, 1953, 1965, 1968, 1969, and their most recent win being 2015.
“I hope one day I can play football like he did, and I recently joined the school football club. I like to help my wee brother when he turns two and goes to his mini kickers club.”
As part of the huge football influence Law has on his grandsons, Cameron is excited about the opening weekend where they will watch the results online from the other side of the world.
The 90th edition of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup begins this weekend. Eastern Suburbs, as a Northern Regional Football League (NRFL) Premier Division club, go through to round two, with a bye.
The ISPS Handa Chatham Cup is contested by teams from throughout New Zealand, and has been held annually in all but five of the past 93 years. All matches which finish in a draw after 90 minutes will be decided by extra time and penalty shootouts.
The Chatham Cup itself was gifted to the then New Zealand Football Association in 1922 by the crew of HMS Chatham as a token of appreciation for the hospitality they had encountered on a visit to New Zealand.
The most successful teams in the history of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup have been Mount Wellington (seven wins, two of them since amalgamation with Auckland University), ahead of Christchurch United and North Shore United, and Eastern Suburbs AFC who claimed the title in 2015 (six wins each).
The New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup also begins this week and NZ Football will preview this in the next few days.
ISPS Handa Chatham Cup Round 1 Fixtures (13 – 14 May)
Saturday 13 May
Oratia United v Kiwi True Blues FC, Parrs Park 1, 2pm
Hibiscus Coast v Papakura City FC, Stanmore Bay Park 1, 2pm
North Shore United v Metro FC, Allen Hill Stadium, 2pm
Ranui Swanson v Auckland Wanderers, Starling Park 2FT, 2pm
Royal NZ Navy AFC v Unimount Bohemian Celtic, Naval Sports Complex, 2pm
Norwest United v Beachlands Maraetai AFC, Huapai Reserve 1, 2pm
Warkworth AFC v Albany United, Shoesmith Reserve 1, 2pm
Waitemata FC v Glen Eden Rangers, McLeod Park 1, 5:30pm
Franklin United v West Hamilton United FC, Bledisloe Park 1, 2pm
Lynn Avon United v Te Atatu AFC, Ken Maunder 1, 2pm
Papatoetoe AFC v Claudelands Rovers, Murdoch Park 1, 2pm
Ellerslie AFC v Melville United, Michaels Ave, 3pm
Bucklands Beach AFC v Ngongotaha, Lloyd Elsmore Park 1, 2pm,
Manukau City v Kerikeri, Walter Massey Park 1, 2pm
Taupo AFC v South Auckland Rangers, Crown Park 1, 2pm
Waikato Unicol v Mt Albert Ponsonby AFC, Jansen Park 1, 2pm
Cambridge FC v Western Springs AFC, John Kerkhof Park, 2pm
Matamata Swifts AFC v Onehunga Mangere United, Matamata Domain, 2pm
Sunday 14 May
Mangere United Soccer Club v Takapuna, Centre Park 1, 2pm
Tauranga City United AFC v Waiheke United AFC, Links Ave 1 2pm
Central/ Capital Region
Saturday 13 May
Red Sox Manawatu v Napier Marist FC, Memorial Park, 2pm
Wanganui Athletic FC v New Plymouth Rangers AFC, Wembley Park, 2pm
Brooklyn Northern United v Norther Wellington AFC, Wakefield 2, 3:30pm
Upper Hutt City v Kapiti Coast United, Maidstone Turf, 3pm
Island Bay United AFC v Waterside Karori, Wakefield 1, 5:30pm
Victoria University of Wellington AFC v Stop Out Sports Club, Boyd Wilson Turf, 3pm
Petone v Lower Hutt City AFC, Petone Memorial Turf, 3pm
Naenae v Seatoun AFC, Naenae Park 1, 2pm
Wainuiomata AFC v Western Suburbs FC, Richard Prouse 1, 2pm
Stokes Valley v Tawa AFC, Delaney Park 1, 2pm
Sunday 14 May
Napier City Rovers v Havelock North Wanderers, Bluewater Stadium, 2pm
Saturday 13 May
Central Pirates v Richmond Athletic AFC, A&P (Blenheim), 2pm
Ferrymead Bays v Selwyn United FC, Ferrymead Park, 2pm
Cashmere Technical FC v Western AFC, Garrick Park, 2pm
Waimak United v Universities, Kendall Park, 3pm
Nomads United AFC v Christchurch United FC, English Park, 2pm
FC Twenty 11 v Coastal Spirit, Avonhead Park, 2pm
Parklands United v Halswell United AFC, Parklands Reserve, 2pm
Sunday 14 May
FC Nelson v Nelson Suburbs, Guppy Park, 2pm
Saturday 13 May
Grant Braes AFC v Caversham AFC, Ocean Grove 1, 2pm
West End AFC v Queens Park AFC, West End Park, 2pm
Gore Wanderers AFC v Otago University Association FC, Hyde Park, 2pm
Green Island AFC v Waihopai AFC, Sunnyvale 1, 2pm
Roslyn Waikari AFC v Thistle AFC (Invercargill), Ellis Park 1, 2pm
Queenstown Rovers v Mornington AFC, Queenstown Events Centre, 2pm
Dunedin Technical AFC v Melchester Rovers FC, Tahuna Park 1, 2pm
Northern AFC v Old Boys AFC, Caledonian, 2pm