Massive match-ups in quarter-finals

Cashmere Technical's reward for their win over Caversham is a quarter-final meeting with Nelson Suburbs. Photo: Martin Hunter / www.photosport.co.nz

With no plucky underdogs now left in the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup, the quarter-final draw has thrown up four massive matches as the prestigious competition narrows down to its final eight teams.

The official draw was conducted by New Zealand Football this afternoon and the destination of the trophy is still very much anyone’s guess with the winner of each tie difficult to pick.

In the north, five-time winners Central United will continue to chase their sixth title – and their first for five years – at home to Wairarapa United. The visitors do not have the same tradition of cup success but do have some recent pedigree to draw on after lifting the trophy in 2011.

Central earned their place in this stage with a 4-0 outclassing of North Shore United in the previous round – in which Mario Ilich notched a late double – while Wairarapa edged past Miramar Rangers 2-1 thanks to goals from Alex Ridsdale and Sam Mason-Smith.

Also in Auckland, cup holders Birkenhead United will look to hang onto their hard-earned crown with the visit of fellow Lotto NRFL Premier League side Onehunga Sports. It will be a meeting of two of the finest winter teams in the country with Onehunga currently running away with the Premier League title and Birkenhead their closest challengers eight points behind in second.

It’s another challenging fixture for Birkenhead, who have been made to defend their maiden title the hard way after coming up against top-flight opposition in every round so far, including a 2-1 defeat of Three Kings United last weekend. Onehunga faced second-tier Melville United in the fourth round but were likewise made to work hard, an Andrew Milne strike eventually proving enough to get them across the line 1-0.

In the capital, two sides with recent experience of this end of the competition will come together with 2006 winners Western Suburbs hosting 2010 runners-up Bay Olympic. Suburbs were losing finalists themselves the year after their most recent cup triumph and will join the Bay in looking to banish those memories by going all the way this time.

The teams experienced contrasting paths to this point with Bay Olympic having to slug it out with Western Springs in a 3-2 thriller while Western Suburbs eased past Stop Out 5-1, thanks largely to an Elijah Just hat-trick.

The remaining encounter is an all-South Island affair between familiar foes Nelson Suburbs and Cashmere Technical. Nelson will be pleased to have been drawn at home after a lengthy away trip to Queenstown Rovers but will be sick of the sight of Mainland Premier League rivals Cashmere, who have already beaten them four times in 2017.

That record – and the fact they were back-to-back Chatham Cup winners in 2013 and 2014 – will make the favourites Technical, who swept aside Caversham 2-0 in the previous round. But Nelson will have plenty of wind in their sails after making the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009 and will be full of confidence from sticking six goals past Queenstown, which included a double to Ben Wright.

All matches in the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup quarter-finals will be played on the weekend of August 5-6 with the details to be confirmed in due course by the clubs and federations.

The Women’s Knockout Cup, which took a break over the weekend as the Chatham Cup claimed centre stage, is also set to return on August 5-6. The details for the quarter-finals of the female game’s premier club competition in this country have already been confirmed and are as per below.

ISPS Handa Chatham Cup Quarter-Finals

6/8/17   2pm, Birkenhead United v Onehunga Sports, Shepherds Park 1
6/8/17   2pm, Central United v Wairarapa United, Kiwitea Street
5/8/17   2pm, Western Suburbs v Bay Olympic, Endeavour Park
6/8/17   1pm, Nelson Suburbs v Cashmere Technical, Saxton Field

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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