Football: Cup chasers learn opponents

Birkenhead United Will play Forrest Hill-Milford United in their Chatham Cup quarter final. Photo / Stuart Whitaker
Birkenhead United Will play Forrest Hill-Milford United in their Chatham Cup quarter final. Photo / Stuart Whitaker

The remaining sides in the Chatham Cup and Women's Knockout Cup now know who is standing in their way on the path to glory after the conducting of the official draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

The draws for each competition - the most prestigious prizes on offer in domestic winter football - were conducted at New Zealand Football headquarters this afternoon and resulted in several stand-out fixtures being produced.

In the Chatham Cup, two of the four Auckland-based sides still in the hat - Forrest Hill-Milford United and Birkenhead United - were drawn to face each other while North Wellington will travel to the City of Sails for a meeting with Three Kings United.

Completing a clean sweep of home fixtures for the Auckland teams, Waitakere City will host Dunedin's Caversham while Christchurch's Cashmere Technical and Wellington's Miramar Rangers do battle in the other quarter-final.

Of the last-eight action, the North Shore derby between Forrest Hill and Birkenhead is a headline game due to the sides' local rivalry and their status as closely-matched NRFL Premier League opponents.

But Miramar's visit to Cashmere is likely to be another highlight as both teams have a recent history of cup success and are performing well in the league, Cashmere on track for a fourth consecutive Mainland Premier League title while Miramar have lost on only several occasions this season. Cashmere won two Chatham Cups on the trot in 2013 and 2014 while Miramar last lifted the trophy in 2010.

An underdog success story is still on the cards elsewhere with two sides - Waitakere and North Wellington - looking to extend their runs, despite not playing in the top flight of their respective regions.

Johnsonville-based North Wellington are in dreamland after equalling their best-ever showing in the competition - they last made the quarter-finals nearly two decades ago in 1997 and only two members of a young squad have previously won the cup, player-coach Peter Howe with Napier City Rovers and Darren Cheriton with Miramar.

Their unexpected run is further positive news for the club, who last week appointed former All White Ben Sigmund - still in the cup as a player for Cashmere - to a development role. They will have to get past NRFL Premier League opposition to extend that run though and Three Kings will not be keen to do them any favours as the Aucklanders aim to make their first final since 2009.

Caversham face the lengthiest trip in heading most of the way up the country to meet Waitakere and it looms as a real banana skin for the southerners. As leaders of the Football South Premier League with a perfect record, they will be expected to beat their NRFL Division One opponents but will come up against some top quality in the likes of former All White Jake Butler and Futsal Whites international Dylan Manickum, who scored a hat-trick in the previous round.

The Waitakere ranks could also include another player with international experience in ex-All White and former Auckland City goalkeeper Ross Nicholson, recently coaxed out of retirement.

There are two clubs that are still on for a Chatham Cup-Women's Knockout Cup double but one will no longer be in contention after this round as Cashmere and Forrest Hill are due to meet each other in the female competition.

Hosts Cashmere will be favourites as they are yet to drop a point in the Mainland Premier League and swept aside Roslyn Wakari 11-0 in the previous round - Mikayla Wieblitz finding the net four times - while Forrest Hill have so far struggled to match the form that brought them top-two placings in each of the previous NRFL Premier League campaigns.

There is also a clear favourite in the other semi-final tie, which pits two-time defending champions Glenfield Rovers at home to second-placed Central League side Upper Hutt City. Rovers will be in a confident frame of mind after sticking five unanswered goals past Western Springs - thanks largely to a Katie Rood hat-trick - while Upper Hutt had to wait until almost the last kick of the game to finally defeat Seatoun 1-0 through Kennedy Bryant's late strike.

The quarter-finals of the Chatham Cup will take place over the weekend of August 6 and 7 with the semi-finals of the Women's Knockout Cup to be staged on August 27 and 28. The match details will be confirmed by each federation and released in due course.

Chatham Cup Quarter-Finals

Three Kings United vs North Wellington
Forrest Hill-Milford United vs Birkenhead United
Cashmere Technical vs Miramar Rangers
Waitakere City v Caversham

Women's Knockout Cup Semi-Finals

Glenfield Rovers vs Upper Hutt City
Cashmere Technical vs Forrest Hill-Milford United

- NZ Herald

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