Chatham Cup fever spreads to the Deep South as Invercargill hosts two ties

posted in: Chatham Cup, News, Uncategorized

By Logan Smith

With action all over the country this Chatham Cup weekend, the two fixtures in New Zealand’s southernmost city may have gone under the radar, but for the host clubs involved, it’s an exciting challenge.

Queens Park take on Southern League outfit Green Island at Surrey Park, while Thistle FC welcome Roslyn-Wakari at the ILT Football Turf, with both visiting sides making a two-and-a-half-hour trip from Dunedin for games kicking off at 2pm on Saturday.

Queens Park are the only Southland side playing in the top level within the region, competing in the Southern Premiership, one of two regional leagues directly below the Southern League.

After a midtable finish in their debut season last year, it’s been a tougher ride for Park so far in 2023, leaving them in last place after eight games.

Founded in 1957, Queens Park enjoyed runs to the last 16 of the Chatham Cup on five occasions in the 1960s and 1970s, but success has been much leaner in recent decades.

Southern League side Green Island have endured a tough start themselves, and currently sit in eighth position. Having reached Round 4 last year, it’s the first step on the road for them to get to that stage again, and perhaps further. Both sides received byes in Round 1.

Paddy Murphy … ‘extra special for our club.’

“It’s always exciting to play in the Chatham Cup,” head coach Paddy Murphy told Friends of Football.

“But welcoming a side from the Southern League will make in extra special for the club.”

It’s a calibre of opponent that Queens Park don’t often get to face, and Murphy is looking forward to the test it’ll provide for his squad.

“It’s an opportunity to test ourselves and play in a game with no pressure on us, other than to show what we are capable of. We’ll give it a really good go and see where that takes us.”

Parks’ vocal home support should help the underdogs against a much-favoured side. “We definitely have a duty to our supporters to try and win the game,” Murphy said.

Elsewhere in town, Thistle FC host Roslyn-Wakari AFC.

It’s been a mixed season for Thistle so far, currently placed fourth in the Southland Express Premier League, having won the competition in 2022. Thistle accounted for Dunedin side Grants Braes 4-1 in Round 1 and will hope to take momentum from this into playing a tougher opponent.

Thistle FC are the oldest club in Southland, having come into existence in 1936. Despite limited cup success in recent times, Thistle have history in the Chatham Cup, impressively reaching the semifinals in 1967 and 1969, as one of the top two teams in the South Island in that era.

Dylan Meehan … ‘excited to be part of the cup again.’

Thistle’s opponents, Roslyn, play in the Southern Premiership, the tier above, and have started well, sitting in second place and still unbeaten in all competitions.

After a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Northern AFC in Round 1, Roslyn now have set their sights on advancing further and taking on more fancied opposition.

“We’re very excited to once again be part of the Chatham Cup,” Thistle president Dylan Meehan told Friends of Football.

“We have over 160 juniors playing and four senior teams, and this is a great way of showing them what they can challenge for.”

As for the game against Roslyn, Meehan isn’t fearing anything.

“We have a youthful team with a few experienced old heads in the mix, I have no fear in what our top team can deliver taking on a higher grade team in this weekend’s game.”

Despite both clubs coming in as clear underdogs, it’s looking an exciting Saturday for football in New Zealand’s southernmost region.

And when the ball is round, you never quite know what’ll happen in football.

READ MORE: Here are the Chatham Cup ties you need to follow this weekend >>>>


Games to be played on Saturday June 3, 2023

Games to be played on Saturday , 2023

Queens Park v Green Island
ILT Football Turf, Invercargill, 1pm

Thistle v Roslyn Wakari
ILT Football Turf, Invercargill, 3pm

Logan Smith

Logan Smith is a passionate football fan and volunteer, based in Dunedin, covering the Southern League.

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