Prebbleton fizzing ahead of first Chatham Cup clash

Prebbleton will play the club’s first ever Chatham Cup game on Monday. PHOTO: PREBBLETON FC
Prebbleton will play the club’s first ever Chatham Cup game on Monday. PHOTO: PREBBLETON FC
Prebbleton are gearing up for their first foray into New Zealand’s oldest football competition on Monday.

The club has entered the Chatham Cup, the nationwide knockout competition which was won last year by Christchurch United.

Prebbleton will be taking on Halswell United in the preliminary round at Kakaha Park on Monday night – most likely the toughest opponents they could have drawn.

But while Prebbleton may be wearing the club’s green kits, on the scorecard they will be High School Old Boys.

President Shannon Gilmore said Mainland Football’s policy of ‘no new clubs’ has forced them to come to an agreement with HSOB.

Prebbleton players register with them and compete under their banner, but form their own teams and play in their own kits.

Since joining Mainland’s competitions more than 10 years ago, Prebbleton have played under the banners of Hornby United and Christchurch United and are now with HSOB.

But the team to take the field on Monday will be wholly comprised of Prebbleton players – Gilmore said HSOB had no players interested in entering.

Prebbleton aren’t the only team from the region in the Chatham Cup with Southern League side Selwyn United receiving a bye and entering at the next stage.

First-tier Southern League clubs don’t compete in the preliminary round.

Halswell are second in the Premiership (second-tier) while Prebbleton compete in division four, the seventh tier of the competition.

Gilmore said it was a great opportunity for the club.

“It’s good for the juniors to see the seniors having a go at something prestigious, and we’d hope to have a go next year as well and make it a regular fixture for the club.”

Gilmore, who was one of the founding members of the club 20 years ago, said it was a “dream” to be in the Chatham Cup.

“To have Prebbleton come this far and be playing under lights at Kakaha, football has certainly grown.

“This is our biggest turnout. We’ve got more club members than we’ve ever had this year – I think we’ve grown almost 30 per cent. We’re certainly on the up.”

Coach Simon Ward, who played in the Chatham Cup for HSOB in the 1990s, said his side were excited to play.

“To them, it’s just an occasion to go out there and have another game of footy and do it under lights against quality opposition.

“We’re under no illusion that they’re five divisions higher than us.

“We will do our best to play our best. And we’ll see what happens.”

Ward said the result was irrelevant to him.

“We just want to go out there and enjoy ourselves.

“If we get hammered, we get hammered. If we can reduce the damage, we’ll reduce the damage. It’s about the occasion really."

Chatham Cup preliminary round
  • Prebbleton (HSOB) v Halswell United: Kakaha Park, Prebbleton, Monday, April 29, 7pm.