North Shore United’s dream of setting an all-time record for Chatham Cup final appearances is over – for this year, at least.
The country’s oldest football club have decided not to travel to Wellington for their cup semi-final against Miramar Rangers this month, defaulting the tie.
It means the final of the 2021 Chatham Cup, held over from last year, will be between Wellington’s Miramar Rangers and Cashmere Technical, of Christchurch, and is provisionally scheduled for Sunday March 6.
The venue has yet to be decided.
North Shore’s decision denies the club its chance to reach a Chatham Cup final for a record 13th time, going past Mount Wellington with whom they currently share the record.
In its statement explaining the decision, the club said:
“After much discussion, the club has advised New Zealand Football that we will not travel to Wellington to play the Chatham Cup semi-final against Miramar Rangers due to the risks posed by Covid-19.
“We had planned to take a young team to Wellington and it is with regret that we acknowledge that they will miss an opportunity to play at this level.
“While the playing group is young and fit and may have coped with an infection, we strongly believe we do not have the right to take this risk with their health.
“We also do not want to risk the introduction of the Omicron variant into one or more households in our community through close contact with returning players, given the possible health impacts and the potential for lost income and/or education due to the self-isolation requirements of being a close contact.”
Finalists Cashmere Technical will be playing in their 10th final – the first six played as Technical Old Boys and a seventh as Christchurch Technical. They will be chasing their fourth cup victory, having won previously in 1948, 2013 and 2014.
If Miramar Rangers can win the cup, it’ll be their fifth day of glory, having won in 1966, 1992, 2004 and 2010.
Kate Sheppard Cup
The finalists for the Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup, the premier women’s knockout competition, will be decided on Saturday February 19.
In the first semi-final, Wellington United will play Eastern Suburbs at 2pm at Newtown Park.
In the second, Coastal Spirit play Hamilton Wanderers at 4pm at English Park, Christchurch.
When the finalists are known, NZ Football will decide the venue for the Chatham Cup and Kate Sheppard finals, which are traditionally played as a double header event.