It’s the defending champions taking on the league winners in both finals as the Canterbury Premier League (CPL) comes to an exciting conclusion tomorrow afternoon.
After a stellar 2019 season that finished with a clean sweep of the women’s trophies, Carlton Redcliffs began the season similar to the competition itself, slow out of the blocks. The second half of the season proved to be where they would finally hit their straps, coming home stronger than a Fat Eddies pineapple and malibu to storm into the final.
They confront Rosebowl and Challenge Shield holders Harewood, who have beaten Carlton on both occasions this season and only dropped one game the entire season. They can collect the triple crown with a victory tomorrow afternoon, and win the title for the first time since 2018, when the also defeated tomorrow’s opponents in the final.
The Hunters will be without a couple of key players, with captain Thomasina Loeffen breaking a thumb in last week’s semi final, and key midfielder Catherine Tinning forced out with a shoulder injury. Some reports suggest the shoulder injury maybe have occurred late in season after Tinning has spent much of the year carrying the side to victory.
Expect the match to be physical and fast paced, with both teams with speed to burn in the midfield. The determining factor could well be in the attacking circle, with the two best defences on display. Harewood have the luxury of two of the top three goal scorers for the season in Charlotte Lee and Jordy Grant, but Kirsty Nation has proven her worth as a big game player, and makes saving goals on the turf look as easy as hitting the boundary on Hagley Oval.
Carlton Redcliffs have had a season to remember, claiming the President’s Shield for the first time since 2013, and holders of the Challenge Shield since round four. They too can claim the triple crown with victory tomorrow afternoon, which hasn’t been done since Harewood in 2017, but not before getting past defending champions Marist.
The green machine were on the tail of Redcliffs for the majority of the season, but dropped their final two games and were looking vulnerable before a strong semi-final performance kept their chances of back to back titles alive.
The Joe duo (Bartholomew & Morrison) both sustained injuries in the semi-final, but with the borders closed were unable to utilise the Waisake Naholo method of Fijian leaves to recover, and are game day decisions for coaches Josh Kumbaroff and Cathy Baker.
Redcliffs are a side unrecognisable to 12 months ago, with the impact of rookie coach Keryn Ambler and returning captain George Enersen evident to see as the team have stayed in it all season long. Trent Summers and Willy Davidson are back to full fitness, with the physio reports suggesting both hamstring strains could have been partially due to wobbly knees.
Both matches this year have between the sides have been hectic, five goal thrillers going the way of Redcliffs 3-2 to setup an exciting title decider.
In the battle for bronze, Avon will play Harewood in the men’s match while Marist take on Avon in the women’s.
Canterbury Premier League – Finals Day
2.40pm: Women’s Final – Harewood vs Carlton Redcliffs
4.10pm: Men’s Final – Carlton Redcliffs vs Marist
10.10am: Men’s 3rd/4th – Harewood vs Avon
1.10pm: Women’s 3rd/4th – Avon vs Marist
Division One Finals
11.40am: Women’s Final – Harewood vs HSOB/Burnside
1.10pm: Men’s Final – Southern United vs Carlton Redcliffs