By Logan Smith
Cashmere Technical have the chance to secure the Women’s South Island League title this Saturday at English Park, taking on rivals Coastal Spirit in what may be the biggest game of their season.
It’s Technical’s last game, and they’ll arrive knowing that either a win or a draw will be sufficient to land a famous league title.
Coastal Spirit, on the other hand, know they need to win to stay in title contention.
The final full round gets started at midday on Saturday in Dunedin, as Otago University host Nelson Suburbs.
The home side are set for a fourth-place finish, while Suburbs, after a tough season, will be hopeful of landing their first win to finish on a high.
At 12.30pm, Cashmere Technical and Coastal Spirit face off at English Park, with the title on the line.
Finally, on Sunday morning, UC Football host Dunedin City Royals, which will also be played at English Park.
Game of the week
It’s patently obvious which is the one to watch here: Cashmere Technical v Coastal Spirit.
Cashmere have had a wonderful South Island League campaign to date, and can now finish the business and win the league with a win or a draw.
It would be a significant achievement if accomplished, as apart from a sole Mainland Premier League title in 2016 and a few Reta Fitzpatrick Cup wins, they have largely been dominated by perennial local power Coastal Spirit since their foundation.
Coastal Spirit will stay in contention and place the title race solely on their own hands if they win. But they’d still need to then win catchup games against Dunedin City Royals and Otago University to retain the title.
Both teams come in on strong form too — so it’s tough to pick the outcome.
Player to watch
Usually a versatile fullback, Dunedin City Royals’ Freya Partridge-Moore (20) played on the wing against Otago University and bagged a well-taken first-half hat-trick.
She’ll be one of a number of attacking threats from the Royals that UC Football will need to keep an eye on.
Nelson Suburbs have, perhaps as expected, struggled in their first season at Women’s South Island League level, and it is worth considering they only joined the Mainland competition this year and qualified for the South Island League on their first attempt.
But I think they may just finish the season on a sweet note with a shock away win against Otago University, which would be their first ever in this league.
I’m picking a 2-1 scoreline.
Games to be played on Saturday August 26, 2023
Otago University v Nelson Suburbs
Caledonian Ground, Dunedin, 12pm
Cashmere Technical v Coastal Spirit
English Park, Christchurch, 12.30pm
Games to be played on Sunday August 27, 2023
Universities of Canterbury v Dunedin City Royals
English Park, Christchurch, 11.30am
Logan Smith is a passionate football fan and volunteer, based in Dunedin, covering the Southern League.