Well we are down to the last 4 of the Chatham Cup. When I went to the Round 2 game between North Wellington and Wellington United I suggested that I might do a follow the winner trail but games clashing with U20 World Cup games and then getting a job which involves working Saturday & Sundays unfortunately ended this plan (and is also the reason I have been a bit lax updating recently – well that and a broken hard drive that took 1 month to get repaired - great customer service OfficeMax!)
If I had followed it I would have seen the following games
R3 Wellington United 2 Western Suburbs 3
R4 New Plymouth Rangers 0 Western Suburbs 4
R5 Wairarapa United 2 Western Suburbs 7
QF Western Suburbs 0 Napier City Rovers 2
So 21 goals in 4 games, I just know that had I gone they probably would have been 0-0 or 1-0 scorelines instead!
The draw for the semi finals has kept apart Napier City Rovers, the Central League Champions and Eastern Suburbs who are currently 9 points clear in the Northern League with a game in hand so look likely to win that, so we could be set up with a Chatham Cup final between arguably the 2 best clubs sides in the country. If I was a cynic I'd say this was fixed but I've probably just been too accustomed to Scottish Cup draws!
But this is cup football and I wouldn't rule out Birkenhead United, currently 5th in the Northern League and with players such as Chad Coombes and Adam Dickinson in their ranks they can't be taken lightly.
The big surprise is Mangere United, currently mid-table in Northern League Division 1. Formed only 15 years ago by the Fijian community in South Auckland. Having Auckland City players Sanni Issa, Mario Bilen & Daewoo Kim has helped as has the kind draw they have had to get to this stage, with Dunedin Technical being the toughest team they have met so far.
So I would love to see Mangere United get up and win the cup, but then I'd love to see a Napier v Eastern Suburbs final as well, so my guessing from this is that Birkenhead will win the cup!
CHATHAM CUP SEMI FINALS - AUGUST 28-29th 2015
Eastern Suburbs v Mangere United
Formed : 1934
Winners : 1951,53,65,68,69
Runners Up : 1955,76,2006
R3 Western Springs (Nth Premier) Won 4-1
R4 North Shore United (Nth Div 1) Won 4-1
R5 Tauranga City United (Nth Div 1) Drew 1-1
Won 5-3 on pens
QF Cashmere Technical (MPL) Won 2-1
R2 Waikato Unicol (WaiBop Prem) Won 4-2
R3 Te Puke United (WaiBop Div 1) Won 7-3
R4 Waitemata City (AFF/NFF Conf) Won 2-1
R5 Papakura City (Nth Div 2) Won 3-1QF Dunedin Technical (Sth Prem) Won 2-1
Birkenhead United v Napier City Rovers
Formed : 1960
Cup Best : Quarter Finals, 2012, 13
R3 Ellerslie (Nth Div 1) Won 4-0
R4 Forrest Hill-Milford United (Nth Div 1) Won 3-1
R5 East Coast Bays (Nth Prem) Won 2-0
QF Central United (Nth Prem) Won 3-0
Formed : 1973
Winners : 1985,93,2000,02
Runners Up : 1997,2011
R3 Stop Out (Central League) Won 2-1
R4 Palmerston North Marist (CL) Won 4-2
R5 Wellington Olympic (CL) Won 4-3
QF Western Suburbs (CL) Won 2-0
My only real disappointment is that there are no Wellington teams left but this is purely selfish as I doubt I'm going to be able to travel up to Auckland for either of these games or the final but we shall see.