2019 men’s champions Marist didn’t have things go all their way last season, going down on both occasions to Avon, and have not beaten Joe Piggott’s men since 2018, having drawn the opening match this season.
Tomorrow’s Canterbury Premier League (CPL) clash sees teams second and third on the table going head to head, with only a point separating them.
“Its going to be quite a surreal experience playing your home game against Marist at Marist Park, while it is also their club day. We may be in the minority when it comes to supporter numbers, but I have full confidence the lads will see that as extra motivation to stick together, play hard and get the job done”, said Piggott, who hopes the complimentary snags and Export Gold will still be flowing regardless of the result.
Having upset last year’s beaten finalists in the opening week, the Avon Eels put together their best opening round ever as they claimed five victories to finish in second spot on the table.
Tomorrow’s match against Marist could well be a potential semi final match up, with both sides looking like the next two best teams behind league leaders Harewood. Marist have the chance to push into second on the table with a victory, sitting three points behind the Eels but with a stronger goal difference, while a win to Avon would push the gap to six points and almost guarantee a second place finish at worst.
Avon coach Ata De Goldi Ling knows the challenge in front of her team tomorrow afternoon, saying “we were pretty excited after getting the win first up, it was a tough match and no doubt the Mermaids will be looking for revenge. The match up is always intense, and as we all know, you can’t fake passion”.
The stars are aligning for the Hornby Vipers in their shield challenge against Carlton Redcliffs. Going for their third straight victory, a feat they have never achieved, they are also looking to topple Redcliffs for the first time at CPL level, and at the same time lift the challenge shield, something never been done before.
Experience meets youth in a clash of the two form players of the competition, as Black Sticks goalkeeper George Enersen looks to continue his good form in goal against the competitions top scorer Simon Yorston, who has scored over half of his team’s 11 goals. Enersen first debuted at CPL level way back in 2005, the same year Yorston began primary school.
The mid-table men’s match up between HSOB/Burnside and Harewood will be a key match, the two teams sitting in fourth and fifth respectively with just a one point margin between them. Old Boys came out on top in the first clash this season, and come into the match on the back of a big victory over Marist last weekend.
Harewood sit a point outside the top four, having not missed the playoffs in over a decade. Veteran Jono Spence has succumbed to injury, and with captain Matt Crake’s hamstrings as tight as a bungy cord, the young defenders in the side will need to step up with Cavalier Lawrence Darling still unavailable for selection.
The Harewood Women will look to keep their perfect record in tact as they meet fifth placed HSOB/Burnside, one of two sides to have scored against the league leaders this season, and the only match where Harewood have been behind on the scoreboard. Burnside have plenty of work to do in order to get themselves into a playoff spot, while Harewood haven’t scored less than three goals in a match and will again be hard to stop.
While on paper it looks as though Carlton Redcliffs should be too strong for the Hornby Tigers, the match could well be close again after the opening match was only decided well into the second half. Carlton, struggling with a number of injuries but with the luxury of a 20 person squad to call on, sit in fourth spot on the ladder, while the Tigers are buoyed by their first victory of the season and have drawn inspiration from their male counterparts as they look to go back to back.
One of Darfield’s most celebrated sportsmen Ben Owers celebrates his 100th match for Southern United against bottom placed University, a number of those matches played in the green and blue of Selwyn before the amalgamation with Sydenham back in 2015.
Owers, who is also closing in on 100 caps for the Canterbury Beavers, has been the cornerstone of the team’s success throughout the last decade, with his team mates likening him to Jordie Barrett (with a blend of Ricky Riccitelli) given his versatility that has seen him play in every position on the field except goalkeeper. While Owers has missed the odd game throughout his career, father Nick certainly hasn’t and his presence on the sideline is as guaranteed as a sliding tackle from his son.
1.30pm: Southern United v University (Waimak)
2.45pm: Hornby Vipers v Carlton Redcliffs* (NPW 1)
4.30pm: Avon v Marist (Marist Park)
4.30pm: HSOB/Burnside v Harewood (NPW 2)
12.00pm: HSOB/Burnside v Harewood* (NPW 2)
1.30pm: Avon v Marist (Marist Park)
4.15pm: Hornby Tigers v Carlton Redcliffs (NPW 1)
BYE – Southern United
* denotes Challenge Shield match