Namesakes of the cups, Kate Sheppard & the HMS Chatham

There's a big football cup competition on at the moment, yes that's right, round three of the Men's Chatham Cup and the Women's Kate Sheppard Cup! 

This round instead of all the games being on at the same time on the same day, it was nicely spread apart so it was possible for me to get to four games! So thank you to Upper Hutt City, North Wellington, Wellington Olympic and Waterside Karori for sorting this out for me, I'm sure I would have been high in your thoughts when you were working out the kick off times! So here they are (four games so a longer read than usual)

GAME ONE - Saturday 23 June KO 12pm
Maidstone Park, Upper Hutt
ATT : 70ish

Ex Upper Hutt City, now Wairarapa United player Dylen Kingi holds off UHC defender The JourneyFan

I, like most have a smart phone, mine does things like tell me the time of the next departing train when I'm driving past a railway station!, or lets me know what the traffic in my local area is like in the middle of the day when I'm at work! So the one time I would have liked it to tell me the Ngaio Gorge had severe delays, hence I would have gone a different way, it decided not to say a thing! The result being it took longer to get down the gorge than it did to get the rest of the 30 odd kilometer's to Upper Hutt!

So I arrived 20 minutes late and Wairarapa United were already 2-0 up thanks to a brace from Meisha Boone. It wasn't an enthralling game, last season's semi finalists, Upper Hutt City were up against it, with Football Fern Sarah Gregorius out injured. They were holding Wairarapa United but not really creating anything themselves and Wairarapa did what they had to and held on for a comfortable 2-0 win.

GAME TWO - Saturday 23 June KO 2:30pm
Alex Moore Park, Johnsonville
ATT : 100 or so 
As the Kate Sheppard Cup game was a comfortable win, it meant no extra time or penalties and enough time to get from Upper Hutt to Johnsonville for the next game at Alex Moore Park, which was living up to its reputation of always being a cold ground, so cold that even the goalposts should have had thermal underwear on!

The game was an all Capital Premier affair between unbeaten league leaders, North Wellington and men's team of the club I'd just been at, Upper Hutt City.

Matt Fong (UHC) celebrates making it 2-1 The JourneyFan

Now I'd seen Upper Hutt City play early in the season and they were terrible, so much so that I had picked them to lose to Capital Two side Seatoun in the first round of the cup. They almost did as well, equalising with basically the last kick of normal time to make it 3-3. They went on to win that game 7-3 and it seemed to be the turning point of their season as they had only lost one game since then (4-3 to North Wellington coincidentally). This run also included the major scalp in the cup of Central League leaders, Napier City Rovers, who they beat 3-1. I had picked them to lose this game and as a result had been requested by the clubs official twitter account to ensure I would back against them again in the next game! While they were in third place, they were still a massive 15 points adrift of North Wellington so that pick wasn't too difficult.

Upper Hutt CIty started well, but an unfortunate mix up at the back led to the keeper dropping the ball and one of his defenders putting the ball in his own net. 11 goal striker, Matt Fong evened up the scores and then 15 minutes into the second half the North Wellington keeper gave away a penalty and Ben Dawson stepped up and made it 2-1, but only just.

Upper Hutt City's Ben Dawson makes it 2-1 from the spot The JourneyFan

The lead lasted about 10 minutes before North Wellington's Hayden Sanders scored. Then came a fortuitous bit of luck, a late tackle on a North Wellington player led to a substitution (even though the player wanted to go back on), Kieran Cripps, the clubs all time leading scorer came on and with four minutes left to play he broke through and used his experience to calmly slot the ball past the keeper and North Wellington into the last 16 of the cup for a second consecutive season.

The game wasn't the prettiest of football but it was a hard fought entertaining cup tie and the result could have gone either way. North Wellington are an odd team this season, they are unbeaten but when you see them play it's hard to fathom, they will play well for spells and then switch off, but they have the experience and depth in their squad to be able to do this. Upper Hutt City are miles better than when I saw them in the first half of the season and coach Mark Foster has molded them into a handy unit, that would have been gutted they didn't extend their cup run.

GAME THREE - Saturday 23 June KO 5:45pm
Wakefield Park, Island Bay
ATT : 120 or so

Normally deemed the coldest ground in Wellington, it was surprisingly mild, especially compared to Alex Moore Park. Again no extra time meant I had plenty of time to get across town and get one of the best meals in Wellington football, Olympic's Souvlaki and chips. I didn't take any photos at this game, not even of the Souvlaki! so here's one from the week before where I met some fellow Arabs (and I saw them again this week so there you go - you get a pic of us :-))

Arabs at Olympic - Andy Mackay, his son and The JourneyFan - first ever Arabs I've ever met randomly at a football club in Wellington!

I was looking forward to this game, Wairarapa United are a decent side, with the likes of Paul Ifill, Hamish Watson, Brian Kaltack and Cam Lindsay. It's hard to understand why they are currently only two points off the bottom of the league. Wellington Olympic have had a bit of a honeymoon period since, Stu Jacobs departed and Sean Easthope took over. They had scored 13 goals in four games and only lost one of those, that was a close 2-1 away to league leaders Napier City Rovers. That honeymoon was well and truly over tonight. 

It started badly for Olympic and just got worse, after about 15 minutes an innocuous shot from outside the penalty area from  Arazani Soromon passed through the keepers hands like strangers in the night and it was 1-0. Paul Ifill, who had started the day at the same game as me (as he is coach of the Wairarapa United Women's team) got a penalty, before scoring with a screamer of a shot in the second half. He almost got a hat-trick just missing each post on two separate occasions. Hamish Watson got one and Arazani Soromon got a second, much to the delight of a tired and emotional relative giving him loud support from the sideline, and the game finished in a comprehensive 5-0 victory for Wairarapa United.

GAME FOUR - Sunday 24 June KO 1pm
ATT : 40ish

Wellington United's Dutch import Suzanne Giesen The JourneyFan

The fourth and last game of the weekend for me was the clash between two unbeaten teams. Waterside Karori, top of the premier division up against Wellington United, who are top of the W-League. It was a game where Waterside Karori were underdogs and were probably thinking it gave them a chance to see where they were in the grand scheme of Wellington football. I doubt they'll have an answer after this game, it wasn't that they played badly, the few times they got the ball they looked OK but the reality was this was a clinical dominant display from a very strong Wellington United team.

Wellington United Diamonds were without the leagues leading scorer, Jemma Robertson, who was carried off injured against Wairarapa last week, but its not the sort of thing that worries them to much, especially when they can call on her sister, MIckey Robertson (66 goals in 80 odd apperances), Dani Ohlsson (32 goals in 14 games fro the reserves last season) and Football Fern, Emma Rolston who has just signed for German club MSV Duisburg and had scored 59 goals in 26 games the last time she played in Wellington, ironically for Waterside Karori.

Emma Rolston then (Waterside Karori 2011-13) & now (Wellington United) Photos Waterside Karori (poss Photomac) / The JourneyFan

From just before kick off the call went out "remember Diamonds, from the kick off" and it was, straight out relentless attack. Waterside were unsure what had hit them and it took just 28 minutes for Diamonds to go 3-0 up with two goals to MIckey Robertson and one to Emma Rolston.

At the start of the season, Waterside were looking for a keeper and as an interim measure they got an outfield player, Emma Luxie, to play in goal. They still haven't found a keeper and Luxie is still in goal, and it's looking like they won't need to find a keeper, she pulled off some great saves and along with the post are what kept the score to 3-0 at half time.

The second half was more of the same, Diamonds attacked relentlessly, when they lost the ball they'd just go in and get it back again, Emma Rolston got a second, dutch import Suzanne Giesen got a brace to celebrate her birthday two days earlier, while Dani Ohlsson chipped in with one. In all Wellington United had 30 shots, while they didn't allow Waterside Karori to have one!

Wellington United would have destroyed pretty much any team they played on the day, so the fact Wharfies kept the score to seven and out of double figures is testament to them.

So that was it, four games, 19 goals, 118kms, one great Souvlaki dinner, Alex Moore Park beating Wakefield for coldest venue in Wellington, 1000+ photos, absolutely brilliant, who needs the World Cup?