Timaru Boys High School make the trip up the highway again this week, competing in their first ever final in only their third year in the competition. Their opposition is St. Bede’s College, the only unbeaten side across both competitions are also in search of their maiden Secondary Schools Premier League title.
No matter how you look at it, tonight’s match will be close. The two teams drew 3-3 only two weeks ago in the final regular season match, a St. Bede’s goal on fulltime ensuring they kept their unbeaten record intact, but only just. They also drew their first-round match back in May, while Bede’s piped the southerners in a pre-season fixture in April.
Both sides are led well by their Canterbury U18 representatives, with no less than seven on display who took home the national title in July. Joey Morrison has been in superb form all year, and his combination with younger brother Charlie and George Baker will be crucial for St. Bede’s.
With 158 caps to his name, Timaru captain Will Sharp is as experienced as they come and one of the best defenders in the competition. Add in midfielder Tim Sheed, as well as semifinal hero Seb Voskuil, and all that firepower could be hard to stop.
Could we see another penalty shootout? Don’t count against it. Five of the seven boys’ finals have been decided that way.
Expect the girls final immediately following to be just as close, as Rangi Ruru Girls’ School take on neighbors St. Margaret’s College. Only a 500m walk separates the two schools in Merivale, and in the 2019 season their records are just as close.
In the 10 matches across the season, both sides won seven, including a win a piece in their two meetings against each other. Rangi Ruru held the Connetics Shield for all but one game, the final round match where they relinquished it to St. Margaret’s.
Nine Canterbury U18 representatives who claimed bronze together will be on display, with five of these players part of the NZ U18 squad. Both sides also have tremendous young talent, with a number of Year 9 and 10 students playing crucial roles throughout the season.
Rangi Ruru have a sound defense, well lead by Anneka Calder, with the attacking skills of Brittany Wang and Tessa Reid complementing that well. St. Margaret’s will look to attack with speed through the likes of Anoushka Chiswell and Francesca Williamson, while youngster Emelia Surridge has been one of the form players in the competition.
The two sides met in the final two years ago, with Rangi coming out on top. Can they win back the title, or will St. Margaret’s go back to back?
Both games will be livestreamed on #WeAreCanterbury’s Facebook page.
Friday 23rd August
6.30pm: St. Bede’s College vs Timaru Boys’ HS Boys Final
8.00pm: Rangi Ruru Girls’ School vs St. Margaret’s College Girls Final