Western Suburbs 7 Napier Marist 1
ISPS Handa Chatham Cup Round 2
Endeavour Park, Whitby
Monday 5 June 2017
Att : 150ish (including 20 or so away fans)

The romance of the cup, potential giant killers, cupsets, David v Goliath, I'm sure there are more cliches I could use and I probably will. This game was one of those that would end up a one sided affair or a classic cup story. 

In the red & white corner we had the giants, Western Suburbs, 111 years old, three times winners of the Chatham Cup (although oddly they only claimed two in their program), a team that had just moved to the top of the Central League after defeating the defending champions Wellington Olympic 2-1 on Saturday evening and had just welcomed back NZ players, Noah Billingsley & Callum McCowatt, from the U20 World Cup in South Korea. 

In the green & white corner the minnows, Napier Marist, just 30 years old, only their 3rd time of entry to the Chatham Cup (a fact that actually surprised the club who believed it was their first time this season!), a team currently second in the Hawke's Bay premier division (effectively the 3rd tier of NZ football) and whose players involvement with the U20 World Cup would've been watching it on TV.

Napier Marist line up before the game The JourneyFan
Napier Marist were formed in 1987 by a group of Napier based ex St John's College students. St John's College is in Hastings and they had tired of traveling to Hastings to play so Napier Marist was born. The club played in the local Hawke's Bay leagues and had two spells (2007-09 & 2011-12) in the Pacific division of the Central Federation League. They established a junior club in 2005 and now have 6 senior teams and 28 junior teams.

This was there 3rd entry into the Chatham Cup, the club hadn't realised this, but as their previous two entries had resulted in 7-1 (2004) & 9-2 (2006) losses, both times to Gisborne Thistle, it's somewhat understandable they'd want to forget them. They got their revenge in the preliminary round this season when they beat Gisborne Thistle 2-0, before heading to Palmerston North and defeating Red Sox Manawatu 4-3. Both Thistle and Red Sox play in the Central Federation Premier League, one league above Napier Marist. Western Suburbs are in the Central Region Premier League, two leagues above Marist, and beat Wainuiomata 7-0 in the first round of the cup.

Western Suburbs are a young team, with their players coming from the Ole Academy, coach Declan Edge, has got them playing a high tempo, pressing game, where they keep the ball moving and there is always someone there to provide options for the player with the ball to pass to. Napier Marist knew from the start they'd be defending most of the day and so it proved, it took 21 minutes for Western Suburbs to get a  break through when Owen Parker-Price slotted it in. Ihaia Delany also got two and Western Suburbs were 3-0 up at the break.

The second half was more of the same, Westerns Suburbs knocking the ball around looking for the openings, Delany completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute when a shot came of the bar and landed at his feet for a tap in. Shortly after this Napier Marist got a rare corner and from it the ball found Mitchell Dick outside the penalty area who fired a screamer of a shot into the top corner. 

While the 20 or so Napier Marist fans who had made the journey down were impressed by this, the Western Suburbs players obviously weren't and straight from the kick off, Delany ran the ball over the goal line for his forth, a minute later substitute Elijah Just made it 6-1. Owen Parker-Price completed the scoring for the day in the 81st minute when he scored his second from the penalty spot, leaving the score at 7-1.

Napier Marist weren't a bad team, they actually played reasonably well, they just came up against a much better team in Western Suburbs. Napier Marist can be proud of their performance, that may seem strange to say about a team that lost 7-1, but if they had been a bad team the scoreline would easily have been in double figures. You could also say they had a 100% success rate when shooting at goal!, That shot was definitely the goal of the day. Hopefully their three Chatham Cup games this season have given Napier Marist the taste and encouragement to enter the competition again next season, you never know they could get a derby against Napier City Rovers.

Napier Marist fans The JourneyFan