A new name will be engraved on the Kate Sheppard Cup regardless of which teams win this Saturday’s semi-finals in the country’s premier women’s knockout competition.
However, three of the remaining clubs have roots in the competition, having evolved through mergers and revamps of previous clubs.
- Northern Rovers, the newly-crowned champions of the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League, is a club formed through the coming together of past cup winners Glenfield Rovers (2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017) and Forrest Hill-Milford United (2016).
- Dunedin Technical, one of the clubs to form Dunedin City Royals in 2021, won the cup in 2018.
- Auckland United‘s parent clubs include Three Kings United, who won the cup four times (1997, 1998, 1999 and 2012).
Only Palmerston North Marist are without links to past cup holders.
Main photo: What winning feels like … Wellington United after claiming the 2021 cup.
Here’s how the semi-finals shape up:
Northern Rovers v Dunedin City Royals
McFetridge Park, Glenfield, 2pm
Rovers remain unbeaten after 22 league and cup games this year.
The side romped through the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League, taking the title with three rounds to spare.
They have conceded only 15 goals in their 22 games, and their goals have been shared among the team.
Rovers’ leading scorer this year is defender Michaela Foster, a specialist finisher at set pieces and the taker of her side’s penalties. She has 10 league goals, while 17-year-old Danielle Canham has eight, Leanna Ryan six and Talisha Green and Courtney Noble have four.
They come up against a Dunedin City Royals with an equally formidable record this season, especially in their defence.
The Royals cleaned out the ODT Women’s Premier League, winning all 11 of their fixtures and racking up 86 goals.
They conceded only one goal.
Their regional win took them into the South Island Championship in which they were beaten in the final by Coastal Spirit 4-1.
That loss, on August 7, suggests that the Royals can be prized open by a good team.
How they got to the semi-finals
R1: Beat Fencibles United 6-0 (away)
R2: Beat Western Springs 2-1 after extra time (away)
R3: Beat Ellerslie 3-1 (away)
QF: Beat Eastern Suburbs 3-1 (away)
Dunedin City Royals
R1: Beat Green Island 7-0 (home)
R2: Beat Roslyn-Wakari 2-0 (home)
R3: Beat Otago University 4-0 (home)
QF: Beat Cashmere Technical 3-1 after extra time (away)
Auckland United v Palmerston North Marist
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 1.45pm
Auckland United have made their way to the last four with a challenging set of cup ties — all on the road, two against WPL rivals and the other against Hibiscus Coast who are unbeaten in the NRF Women’s Championship.
Early in the season, United had a habit of losing the games that mattered in the WPL but they’ve steadily improved and are third in the league.
Their recent form has been helped by former Football Fern Martine Puketapu who has regained her goalscoring touch with eight goals for the season.
United face a Palmerston North Marist side who have claimed their best wins this year in the Kate Sheppard Cup.
They put out holders Wellington United in the third round, beating them in a penalty shoot-out when the sides were tied 2-2 at the final whistle.
In the quarter-finals, they beat Waterside Karori 1-0, upsetting the side that leads Capital’s Ultra Football W-League with a perfect record of nine wins from as many games.
In that competition, Marist are coming second, having lost three of their 12 fixtures.
Whatever the result, Marist have claims to being the best supported team in the competition — the team comes from a multi-sport club with eight codes and almost 3,000 members.
How they got to the semi-finals
R2: Beat Hibiscus Coast 3-1 (away)
R3: Beat West Coast Rangers 3-0 (away)
QF: Beat Tauranga City 4-0 (away)
Palmerston North Marist
R2: Beat Victoria University 6-0 (away)
R3: Beat Wellington United on pens after 2-2 (home)
QF: Beat Waterside Karori 1-0 (home)
Watch the live stream
The Auckland United — Palmerston North Marist semi-final will be the feature game on NZ Football’s YouTube channel.
You can watch it here:
The Kate Sheppard Cup is supported by the NZ Football Foundation.