PREVIEW: Rovers and Taupo to meet in clash of Southern Conference chasers

By Jack Sharp

Cambridge look likely to extend their winning streak to eight games when they visit struggling Ngongotaha Lakes this weekend.

They beat last year’s champions Waikato Unicol 7-1 last round, with all their goals scored by Golden Boot leader Bailey Webster (4) and last year’s Golden Boot winner Josh Clarkin (3).

Cambridge’s title campaign is being made easier by other teams beating each other and preventing any one team from becoming the main threat to the leaders.

Game of the week

Claudelands Rovers had a clumsy start to the season but have been gradually moving up the table.

The Hamilton side is now third, with an almost identical record as second-placed Taupo, and with both teams level on 13 points.

Taupo have been a tad erratic but on their day, they are clearly one of the best sides in the competition.

With second place at stake, it gives the game an edge and both sides are capable of finding the net — they average more than three goals a game this season.

Former Cambridge striker Krishaant Singh has been in excellent form for Claudelands, moving into second place on the Golden Boot table with 11 goals from seven rounds.

Taupo have been sharing around the goals but in games like this, the experience of captain Joe O’Donoghue could be crucial.

A clear victory to either side will establish them as the team most capable of chasing runaway leader Cambridge.

Krishaant Singh (red shirt) … Photo credit: Rachel Lilburn.

Player to watch

Forward Krishaant Singh (23) is familiar with the Southern Conference, having had spells with Claudelands Rovers (twice), Cambridge and Waikato Unicol.

He was a prolific goalscorer for Cambridge last season and he shifted to Rovers in the summer.

He, like the Rovers side, had a slow start to the 2024 season but he’s been hitting his straps lately, and no more so last weekend when Singh struck four against Te Awamutu.

If he can maintain his form, he and Rovers can look forward to a strong second half of the season.

Bold prediction

Waikato Unicol were on the end of a 7-1 drubbing last weekend when they were overwhelmed by leaders Cambridge.

I’m picking they’ll bounce back with a home win against Papamoa, who beat local rivals Otumoetai 2-1 last round.

Golden Boot

15 — Bailey Webster (Cambridge)
11 — Krishaant Singh (Claudelands Rovers)
9 — Jack Boland (Otumoetai)
6 — Andrew Cooper (Papamoa), Henry Stephen (Claudelands Rovers)
5 — Jack Connor (Cambridge), Josh Clarkin (Cambridge), Kjay Morehu (Waikato Unicol)
4 — Dylan Foster (Taupo), Joe O’Donoghue (Taupo), Sean Barbour (Taupo), Steffano Riley (Ngongotaha Lakes)


Games to be played on Saturday May 25, 2024

Claudelands Rovers v Taupo
Galloway Park, Hamilton, 3pm

Ngongotaha Lakes v Cambridge
Tamarahi Reserve, Ngongotaha, 3pm

Waikato Unicol v Papamoa
Waikato University, Hamilton, 3pm

Otumoetai v Te Awamutu
Fergusson Park, Otumoetai, 3pm

Jack Sharp

Jack Sharp is a long-time follower of club football in New Zealand and is a volunteer writer for Friends of Football. You can show your appreciation for his work by buying him a coffee.

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