The return of Rachel McCann is a much needed boost for HSOB/Burnside, as they meet Harewood in the crunch round seven match of the Canterbury Premier League (CPL).
McCann is fresh off the plane from Germany, landing on Thursday and ready to play her first match of the season. The Burnside stalwart has just completed the German club season playing for Mannheim, where the team made it through to the top four in a league stacked with international talent. After a tough start to the year, her Burnside team have put together back to back victories, and one against rivals Harewood would see them leap into the top four for the first time this season.
McCann finished as the competition top goal scorer last year, also missing large chunks of the season, so Harewood will be well aware of her attacking threats. The two sides meet in the unfamiliar positions of fourth and fifth on the table, a much different situation than the past six or seven years when more often than not it has been a top of the table clash. Both sides have worked themselves back into top four consideration after slow starts to the year, and understand the value of three points this afternoon.
The men’s match between the same two sides is always a tight encounter. Old Boys have snuck themselves into the top four and sit three points behind Harewood who are a place above in third. Goalkeepers Louis Beckert (HSOB/Burnside) and Tom Mallon (Harewood) will be hard to get past, but both sides can rely on some attacking flair that could also see fireworks up front. With Harewood already five points behind league leaders Southern United, the boys in blue will need to be at their best if they want to keep themselves in the hunt for a sixth straight President’s Shield.
Southern United should feel confident as they defend the challenge shield again, this time as they take on University. The students only have one win for the season, and are starting to slowly lose touch with the top four. Any more dropped points and things will be looking tough for them heading into the second round. Southern United currently hold a four-point lead at the top of the table, and will no doubt be looking to finish off the first round in style and consolidate their position as league leaders.
Marist sit in second in both the men’s and women’s competitions as they meet Avon in today’s encounters. The men will be without the services of George Connell, serving a suspension, but with Andrew Ross in such fine form the green machine will be confident they can get the job done. Avon had a decent start to the year, but they too are in danger of losing touch with the top sides if they aren’t able to pick up any points this afternoon. The women’s match should be a cracker, with the two sides locked on the same points after five games. A win for either side will put them outright second, and taking giant step towards cementing the top four spot.
Carlton Redcliffs and Hornby battle off in our final matches of round seven which also sees the completion of the first round. Carlton Redcliffs will be expected to keep to their winning momentum in the women’s match, holding a six point lead at the top of the table. The men’s match could provide for some interesting viewing, with Hornby still searching for their first victory of 2019, and Redlciffs smarting from a heavy defeat last time out.
1.15pm Hornby Vipers vs Carlton Redcliffs Nga Puna Wai 1
2.45pm University vs Southern United* Nga Puna Wai 1
3.00pm Marist vs Avon Waimakiriri Turf
4.30pm Harewood vs HSOB/Burnside Nga Puna Wai 2
11.45am Hornby Tigers vs Carlton Redcliffs* Nga Puna Wai 1
1.30pm Marist vs Avon Marist Park
1.30pm Harewood vs HSOB/Burnside Nga Puna Wai 2
BYE: Southern United
*denotes Challenge Shield holder
Image: Geoff Soper