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Cashmere Technical find themselves in familiar territory as the only unbeaten side in the Mainland Football premiership after Christchurch United surrendered the competition lead with a fifth round loss to Nelson Suburbs.
The three-time defending champions were not at their best last weekend either, but after racing to a two-goal lead after nine minutes against Ferrymead Bays – including the fastest strike of the season by Yuya Taguchi after 95sec – Cashmere Technical survived the concession of a late goal to claim top spot.
Cashmere-Technical are now unbeaten in 39 league games stretching back to a 2-1 loss to Ferrymead Bays in the opening round of the 2019 season.
They strive to preserve that impressive record against Nomads United on Saturday while Christchurch United should bounce back from a 3-1 loss to Nelson Suburbs when they take on winless Halswell United.
Coastal Spirit and Nelson Suburbs have a busy weekend with a second game on Monday after that clash was postponed earlier the season when the visitors had a flight to Christchurch cancelled.
In Christchurch Metro Premier Cup rugby, last year’s beaten finalists Marist Albion are seeking a third successive win against Shirley, while New Brighton’s centenary season is panning out to plan as the only other unbeaten club after two rounds.
New Brighton, who edged Christchurch 16-15 last weekend, host Burnside at Rawhiti Domain while Marist Albion claimed a tight encounter with Belfast, 31-26.
Champions Lincoln University were under strength when they lost in the opening round to Marist Albion but bounced back against bottom-placed University. They host Sydenham on Saturday.
Hornby captain Sincere Harraway maintained his impressive strike rate with a second successive hat-trick as the Panthers maintained their lead in the Canterbury Rugby League premiership on points differential.
Harraway notched a treble in week one against Riccarton and repeated the feat in the 34-14 win over a Papanui side making their season debut after having to default their opening round clash to Halswell due to lack of numbers.
While it was no surprise to see Hornby and five-time defending champions Linwood at the forefront of the standings, last season’s wooden spooners Celebration Lions are also among the pacesetters after pipping Halswell 24-22.
They now face an acid test against Hornby on Saturday while Linwood should have a straightforward outing against Papanui.
- Christchurch Metro Premier Cup (all Saturday at 2.45pm) - Marist Albion v Shirley, Edgar McIntosh Park; University v Sumner, Ilam Fields; Linwood v Belfast, Linfield Park; New Brighton v Burnside, Rawhiti Domain; Lincoln University v Sydenham, Lincoln Uni; Christchurch v HSOB, Christchurch Park.
- Canterbury Rugby League Premiership (all Saturday at 2.45pm) - Halswell Hornets v Eastern Eagles, Halswell Domain; Hornby Panthers v Celebrations Lions, Leslie Park; Linwood Keas v Papanui Tigers, Canterbury Park Oval; Northern Bulldogs v Riccarton Knights, Murphy Park.
- Mainland Football Premiership - Christchurch Utd v Halswell United, Christchurch Football Centre, 7.30pm Friday; Ferrymead Bays FC v Nelson Suburbs FC, Ferrymead Park, 11.30am Saturday; Cashmere Technical v Nomads United, Garrick Park, 2.45pm Saturday; Selwyn United v Coastal Spirit, English Park, 5pm Saturday; Coastal Spirit v Nelson Suburbs, Linfield Park, 11.30am Monday.