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Cashmere Technical have already claimed one of the two berths available for Southern League clubs, and they can help ensure a Christchurch side secures the other spot if they beat South City Royals in their final round robin match at Garrick Park on Saturday.
Coastal Spirit squandered an opportunity to have a tighter control on their own destiny last weekend but were undone 2-1 by Ryan Fleming’s double for the Royals in Dunedin.
They pulled a goal back through Roque Fuentes Salinas but could not conjure up an equaliser and sit third, albeit on the same points as the Royals, with two rounds remaining.
Coastal Spirit host fifth-ranked Selwyn United on Saturday before another trip south to face winless Green Island on October 2.
Cashmere Technical, who lead the table with 15 points having played an extra game, showed no signs of rustiness when they returned to action after the Covid-19 lockdown as they thrashed Nelson Suburbs 5-1. Garbhan Coughlan and Tom Schwarz both scored twice.
Christchurch United, 5-0 winners over Otago University, and Selwyn United – in spite of only managing a draw against Green Island – can also qualify providing results fall their way.
Southern League draw: Cashmere Technical v South City Royals, Garrick Park, Saturday, 11.30am; Coastal Spirit v Selwyn United, Linfield Park, Saturday, noon; Green Island v Christchurch United, Sunnyvale Park, Saturday, 12.30pm; Nelson Suburns v Otago University, Saxton Field, Sunday, 10.30am.
Points table: Cashmere Technical 15, South City Royals 9, Coastal Spirit 9, Christchurch United 7, Selwyn United 7, Otago University 6, Nelson Suburbs 4, Green Island 1.
While football continues, Canterbury Hockey’s premier league competitions reached a belated conclusion at Nga Puna Wai in contrasting style.
In the women’s division, defending champion Harewood capped an unbeaten season with a win that mattered most as they comfortably beat Marist 3-1.
Coach Matt Ling, two years into his second stint in charge of the side, was delighted the squad cleared their final obstacle.
“Everyone was down on match-fitness quite a bit (after the Covid-19 lockdown) so it wasn’t the prettiest final but it was good to finish unbeaten,” he said.
They led 1-0 through Millie Calder then Marist drew level before Charlotte Lee and Bella Ambrosius sealed the deal.
Harewood have not lost since a regular season defeat to HSOB/Burnside last year, with Ling attributing this dominant campaign to a settled roster.
“It’s the same squad as last year, that was handy,” he said.
Ling, who first coached the side a decade ago, paid tribute to the squad collectively while Catherine Tinning, Georgie McKay-Stewart, Jessie Anderson and Calder were particularly prominent while former Black Stick Jordy Mayne provided a wealth of experience.
Harewood completed the regular season with a 12-win two draw record and a positive goal difference of 40, though Ling insisted the champions were made to work hard for the spoils.
“We had a couple of draws and quite a few close games where there was only a goal in it through the season as well. I suppose the team is starting to figure out how to close out games,” Ling said.
Although Harewood were logical women’s winners, HSOB/Burnside upset the form book in the men’s play-offs to win their first title since 1997 by edging Carlton Redcliffs 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the scores were tied 3-3 at the end of regulation.
HSOB/Burnside qualified fourth for the post-season and then eliminated top seeds Harewood; Carlton Redcliffs reigning champion Marist in the other semi-final to set up an enthralling showpiece.
Louis Beckert saved thwarted three would-be scorers during the shootout while Angus McGregor nailed the clincher.
“We’ve been a team of battlers with no real big New Zealand stars. Redcliffs had George Enerson, New Zealand keeper, ex Black Stick Nick Haig . . . but they play as a team,” HSOB/Burnside manager Andrew Brydon said.
“The competition is very, very tight. We snuck in fourth with only three losses for the season,” he said.
While HSOB/Burnside broke their silverware drought from fourth, Christ’s College were unable to secure a maiden Crusaders region 1st XV title from the same position.
Christ’s College knocked out top qualifier St Bede’s in the semi-finals but then experienced the anguish of conceding a late try to Timoci Sauira, a score which enabled Nelson College to lead for the first time before celebrating their third title with a 22-20 at Trafalgar Park.
The Christchurch Girls’ High School’s 1st XV maintained their utter dominance of the Miles Toyota Cup by beating Villa Maria College 57-0 in their final at Linfield Park.