It doesn’t look like anyone can catch Upper Hutt in this year’s W-League. With the competition nearing the half-way stage, Upper Hutt have a 5 point lead, have conceded only two goals, and have scored an incredible 29, including 7 in last round’s demolition of second-placed Wellington United.
This Saturday, it’s the turn of third-placed Palmerston North Marist to see if they can stop goal-scoring machines, Emma Main and Sarah Gregorious (10 goals a piece), at Maidstone Park. In other matches Stop Out meet Wellington United at Hutt Park and Wairarapa United host Seatoun.
Meanwhile, in the men’s Central League, Wairarapa United should extend their lead at the top of the table to four points on Saturday at home in Masterton to bottom-of-the-table Palmerston North Marist.
Wairarapa have quietly worked their way to the peak of a very congested Central League table. The potent strike force of Sam Mason-Smith and Paul Ifill (18 goals between them) have led the way as they’ve amassed 24 goals this season. More than any other team in the league.
Stop Out (2nd) and Western Suburbs (3rd) lead the following pack, equal on points. Stop Out have an experienced line up featuring perennial goal threat Micky Malivuk and midfielders Steve Gulley and (as of this weekend) Cole Peverley who returns from Team Wellington.
Wests on the other hand, have a side made up of almost entirely players under 20 years old, but will have to live without New Zealand U20’s players Noah Billingsley and Callum McCowatt who are away in China with the national team.
A draw here would be the dream result for Wairarapa, but Wests and Stop Out need a win to keep the pressure on the team from over the hill.
This weekend’s other feature match is the local derby between Wellington Olympic (6th) and Miramar Rangers (5th) under lights at Wakefield Park at 5.45pm. This match is always hotly contested. Both sides are likely to be significantly changed from past outings as they each welcome back a wave of Team Wellington players.
Elsewhere Wellington United (4th) play Lower Hutt (9th) and Team Taranaki (7th) play Napier City Rovers (8th).
Team lists below (click to enlarge).