By Logan Smith
After a disrupted start to the competition, all six teams get to play in this weekend’s Women’s South Island League round.
Flight disruptions and the Kate Sheppard Cup prevented full rounds until this weekend, and we’ll finally see all the contenders in action.
The action starts on Saturday afternoon at 12.30pm, with a “university derby” of sorts, with UC Football, representing the universities of Canterbury, hosting Otago University with both sides after their first-ever win in the competition.
On Sunday at 12.30pm, two fixtures get underway, and last year’s runners-up, Dunedin City Royals, get a chance to exact revenge on champions Coastal Spirit.
In Christchurch, early leaders Cashmere Tech host Nelson Suburbs, who will be determined to improve on a Kate Sheppard Cup drubbing at the hands of Coastal.
Game of the week
While it’s not easy to pick these things early on, the Dunedin City Royals’ match against Coastal Spirit does stand out as the most exciting fixture on paper. Both teams won their regional qualifying sections, and were the finalists in 2022.
The Royals went down 2-0 to Cashmere in the opening round, leaving them less room for error in the title race that is to ensue.
Coastal were also frustrated but in a different sense, with their opening round game against Otago University postponed due to flight delays.
Both sides have since picked up victories in the Kate Sheppard Cup and will meet in the quarter-finals, but first, they have this league showdown to navigate.
Player to watch
Dunedin City Royals striker Nieve Collin bagged a double against Otago University in Kate Sheppard Cup action with two spectacular strikes that turned the game around for the Royals and set them on the path to victory.
Coastal Spirit pose a significantly tougher task, but the Royals will hope Collin can find the same magic in her boots again and help the team to victory.
Otago University have shown a notable improvement on 2022 in their season-to-date, securing second spot in the Southern region and going toe-to-toe with the dominant Dunedin City Royals in three close defeats, including last week in Kate Sheppard Cup action.
The teams played out an entertaining 4-4 draw in pre-season, and although UC are likely to be favourites, I’m picking the visitors to stage an upset at English Park and win 2-1.
Games to be played on Saturday June 24, 2023
UC Football v Otago University
English Park, Christchurch, 12.30pm
Games to be played on Sunday June 25, 2023
Cashmere Technical v Nelson Suburbs
Garrick Memorial Park, Christchurch, 12.30pm
Dunedin City Royals v Coastal Spirit
Dunedin Artificial Turf, Dunedin, 12.30pm
Logan Smith is a passionate football fan and volunteer, based in Dunedin, covering the Southern League.