The draws for Round Two of both the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup and Women’s Knockout Cup have been completed with a host of intriguing match-ups to look forward to all over the country on Queen’s Birthday Weekend from June 3 to 5.
The draws for both competitions were conducted today at New Zealand Football headquarters with Northern Football Competitions Officer Aidan Wong adjudicating the process as 32 women’s teams and 64 men’s sides learned their second round fate.
There are two all-top flight ties in the lower half of the North Island where Wellington United and Palmerston North Marist – second and third on the Capital W-League ladder respectively – will come together while W-League strugglers Wairarapa United and Stop Out will also do battle.
After sitting out the opening round over the weekend, clubs in the upper North Island are now set to enter the Women’s Knockout Cup fray and several have been handed a difficult start. That’s particularly the case for Eastern Suburbs and Hamilton Wanderers, who will be involved in the only clash between a pair of Lotto NRFL Premier League sides.
Down south, attracting most attention will be Coastal Spirit’s hosting of FC Twenty 11 with 2013 winners Coastal continuing their bid to bring the Women’s Knockout Cup back to the Garden City.
It’s a similar story for the men in the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup, the second round of which has thrown up some hugely significant fixtures.
The action will be intense as Wellington United – made up of members of the Wellington Phoenix Academy – welcome fellow Central Leaguers Miramar Rangers while Napier City Rovers’ hosting of Wellington Olympic is likely to draw a healthy crowd to Park Island. Central League cellar dwellers Palmerston North Marist will have their work cut out for them in travelling to second-placed Stop Out.
At the forefront of the significant fixtures further north is cup holders Birkenhead United, whose first ever defence will begin in challenging fashion with a short trip to fellow Lotto NRFL Premier League outfit and local rivals Glenfield Rovers. Both sides have begun their league seasons in promising fashion with Glenfield sitting second and Birkenhead just three points further back in third.
Fourth-placed Waitakere City, who were runners-up in last year’s edition of the cup, face a potential banana skin with their visit to Division One Manukau City while AFF/NFF Conference side Lynn-Avon United’s reward for knocking out NRFL opposition is a home tie against Premier League East Coast Bays.
Matamata Swifts of the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership also achieved that feat in the previous round and will fancy their chances of progressing against Unimount Bohemian Celtic, who will feel the same after their undefeated run to the top of the AFF/NFF Conference.
There are two all-Premier League meetings in Mainland with pace-setters Ferrymead Bays welcoming mid-table Nomads United and bottom-placed Universities facing third-placed Coastal Spirit.
The only non-top flight side left at the foot of the country is South Canterbury Division One leader West End, who will be out to perform the role of giant killers against 2008 runners-up Dunedin Technical.
The Round Two draws for teams from the Capital Football region in the Women’s Knockout Cup and ISPS Handa Chatham Cup are as follows.
Women’s Knockout Cup Round Two
Wairarapa United vs Stop Out
Wellington United vs Palmerston North Marist
Victoria University of Wellington vs Upper Hutt City
Seatoun vs Brooklyn Northern United
ISPS Handa Chatham Cup
Wellington United vs Miramar Rangers
North Wellington vs New Plymouth Rangers
Island Bay United vs Wairarapa United
Stop Out vs Palmerston North Marist
Western Suburbs vs Napier Marist
Napier City Rovers vs Wellington Olympic
Upper Hutt City vs Tawa
Petone vs Naenae
To see the full draw, visit the New Zealand Football site here.