Here’s who we’re tipping for Chatham Cup upsets this weekend

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This weekend’s first round of the Chatham Cup promises to produce its share of the upsets that make the competition special.

We’ve studied the fixtures for the weekend of May 14-15 and come up with our predictions for the games in the Northern region that could have us all talking by Monday.

Main photo: Sunday leaguers Sperm Whales … they take on Ngaruawahia United,

Here are the cup ties we’re tipping for a touch of drama:

Saturday

Waikato Unicol v Tauranga City
Jensen Park, Hamilton, kick-off 2pm

Currently second in the Lotto NRFL first division, Tauranga City are in fine form this season and eyeing promotion to the Northern League.

They travel to Hamilton to play Waikato Unicol who compete two leagues lower, in the WaiBOP Premiership.

But we can see this game turning into an upset if Tauranga underestimate their opponents.

Unicol are currently leading the WaiBOP Premiership with four wins from as many outings. They have scored 16 goals and conceded only twice, in a competition they came so close to winning last year.

Let’s not forget that the team that sneaked past them in last year’s Premiership, Ngaruawahia United, won promotion to the Lotto NRFL second division, a competition they currently lead and are unbeaten in.

Unicol have a habit of lifting themselves for big matches.

Extra time, penalties … anything is possible in this match.

Player to watch: Unicol’s Jacob Robb — he’s scored five goals in four games this season.

Northern Rovers v Mangere United
McFetridge Park, Auckland, kick-off 2pm

Okay, the form book says Mangere United has no chance of winning this tie.

Northern Rovers are at home. Last year, they were a Northern League club.

Today, this still play seven divisions of football higher than Mangere United who are in NRF Community Division 4.

This will be Mangere’s biggest game in years — and it coincides with their club’s 20th-anniversary celebrations which take place on Saturday night.

It would be fairytale stuff if the Mangere players could pull off the biggest upset of the round to spice up their anniversary.

Put aside logic and believe in fairytales — it’s what makes the Chatham Cup so great.

Player to watch: Rovers have not yet found a goalscorer capable of finding the net most weeks. This is their chance for their strikeforce to fill their boots … maybe it’s time for Jack Pirie to step forward.

Sunday

Sperm Whales v Ngaruawahia United
Seymour Park, Auckland, kick-off 2pm

Sperm Whales — variously known as the Spermies or the Spunkies — carry the hopes of all Sunday league footballers as they host Lotto NRFL second division leaders Ngaruawahia United.

And they’re in with a chance.

They caused an upset in the preliminary round on Anzac Day, beating Northland Community Division 1 side Whangarei FC after a penalty shoot-out that ended 8-7 in their favour.

What made their Chatham Cup win all the more amazing was that the day before, they also needed extra time to beat Football Club Khukuri in the semi-final of the ASFA League Cup.

Ngaruawahia United are an ambitious side promoted to the Lotto NRFL this year after winning last season’s WaiBOP Premiership.

The Ngaruawahia side reached the fourth round of the Chatham Cup last year.

Whatever the result, this is surely going to be an entertaining game with plenty of goals.

Player to watch: If this games goes to penalties — and anything is possible — look to the goalkeepers to make the difference. In a shoot-out, Ngaruawahia’s Patrick Steele could be the deciding factor.

Central United v Waitemata
Kiwitea Street, Auckland, kick-off 2pm

Past winners of the cup Central United go into this tie as the supposed underdogs but few would be surprised if they go into the draw for the second round.

Waitemata play two divisions higher than Central, in the Lotto NRFL first division. But their form this season has been inconsistent, though they did hold second-placed Tauranga City to a scoreless draw last weekend.

They will have to play to their potential to fend off Central who are currently second in the NRF Championship.

Central are a well-resourced and well-drilled outfit, playing at their Kiwitea Street home and with a tradition of good cup runs.

They demolished Matamata Swifts in the preliminary round.

A Central win is very much on the cards.

Player to watch: Central skipper Ben Ruffell keeps this side ticking over but the goals can come from anywhere in this side. If it’s tight and comes down to one goal, don’t be surprised if Sam Lloyd is the goal hero.

Last round results

Click here to read our round-up of the preliminary round games >>>>

Full first round draw

Ties scheduled for May 14-15, 2022.

Northern region

Ngongotaha v Tauranga Old Blues
Northern United v Taupo
Waikato Unicol v Tauranga City
Cambridge v Onehunga-Mangere United
Central United v Waitemata
Northern Rovers v Mangere United
Beachlands Maraetai v Claudelands Rovers
West Hamilton United v Waiuku
Franklin United v Oratia United
West Coast Rangers v Papakura City
Mt Albert Ponsonby v Otumoetai
Papamoa v Ellerslie
Bucklands Beach v Kerikeri
Northland v Manurewa
Sperm Whales FC v Ngaruawahia United
Te Awamutu v Metro
West Auckland v Onerahi
East Coast Bays v Te Atatu
Hibiscus Coast v Albany United

Byes

Northern: Auckland City, Auckland United, Bay Olympic, Birkenhead United, Eastern Suburbs, Fencibles United, Hamilton Wanderers, Manukau United, Melville United, North Shore United, Takapuna, Waiheke United, Western Springs.

Central / Capital Region

Wanganui Athletic v Havelock North Wanderers
Palmerston North Marist v Massey University
Seatoun v Wellington Olympic
Kapiti Coast United  v Upper Hutt City
Brooklyn Northern United v Wainuiomata
Lower Hutt City v Stokes Valley
Victoria University v Tawa
Naenae SC v Island Bay United
Waikanae v Wellington Marist
Wellington United v Stop Out

Byes

Capital: Napier City Rovers, North Wellington, Petone, Miramar Rangers, Waterside Karori, Western Suburbs

Mainland Region

FC Nelson v Tahuna
Nelson Suburbs v Richmond Athletic
Ferrymead Bays v FC Twenty11
Coastal Spirit v Waimakariri United
Halswell United v Parklands United
Universities v Christchurch United
Cashmere Technical v Nomads United
Burwood v Selwyn United

Byes

Mainland: None

Southern Region

Queens Park v Grants Braes
Wanaka v Otago University
Northern v Old Boys
Gore Wanderers v Roslyn-Wakari

Byes

Southern: Dunedin City Royals, Green Island, Mosgiel, Queenstown AFC

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