A packed house at Nga Puna Wai witnessed the last battle between Rangi Ruru and St. Margaret’s College, both teams at the top of their game as they met in the final of the 2019 Secondary School Premier (SSP) final.
We are almost 12 months on, and the rivals will go head to head again, this time with a lot less at stake. While Rangi Ruru are unbeaten and currently hold the Connetics Shield, St, Margaret’s are languishing in fifth spot on the table with a solitary win to their name. With a large chunk of players moving on from last season, the young side has found the going tough in the opening few matches, in what could only be described as a rebuilding year.
Francesca Williamson was in line to play her first match against her old school, but a concussion last weekend has ruled the Rangi Ruru captain out of tonight’s match. The two sides also met in the 2017 final, which went the way of Rangi Ruru and it’s shaping up to be a similar outcome based on the contrasting form shown this season.
The boys match had great potential to be just as exciting as last year’s final, which went all the way to penalty shootout before Timaru Boys prevailed, but the clash of dates with the Craighead formal has decimated the Timaru side.
Up to five key players will be missing for tonight’s clash, which gives St. Bede’s College a huge advantage as they look to get themselves back into the top four hunt. Bede’s have already dropped three games this season, but are a side known to perform well against opposition sides missing key players for school formals, just ask Lucca Burley.
While Timaru will hold onto their spot in the top four regardless of the outcome this evening, those not attending the most talked about formal south of the Rakaia Bridge will bring their own dancing shoes to Christchurch in search of a positive result.
Unbeaten Christ’s College will look to finish the first round with a perfect record as they put the Connetics Shield on the line against arch rivals St. Andrew’s College. College are five from five to begin the season, and could extend their five point buffer they currently hold if results go there way.
St. Andrew’s aren’t foreign to the Connetics Shield, having held it for seven days earlier this year. They sit in third, but could find themselves out of the top four if they can’t get a result tonight.
Burnside High have the chance to post back to back victories as they take on third placed Villa Maria College. Villa are in danger of losing ground with the top two teams, while Burnside will be full on confidence after slamming home five goals last Friday.
Christchurch Boys should be too strong for Burnside, the final match for Burnside in the top flight before the drop down a grade for the second half of the season.
Girls Draw (all on Nga Puna Wai 1)
5.00pm: St. Andrew’s College v Christchurch GHS
6.20pm: Villa Maria College v Burnside HS
7.40pm: St. Margaret’s College v Rangi Ruru GS*
Boys Draw (all on Nga Puna Wai 2)
5.10pm: Christchurch BHS v Burnside HS
6.30pm: Timaru BHS v St. Bede’s College
7.50pm: St. Andrew’s College v Christ’s College*
*Connetics Shield Holders