PREVIEW: Technical and Royals set pace in Women’s South Island League

By Logan Smith

After an opening round with just two matches, the Women’s South Island League gets into full swing this weekend, with three fixtures spread across the cities of Nelson, Christchurch, and Dunedin.

Cashmere Technical and Dunedin City Royals ride into Round 2 off opening round wins and will aim to continue that form, while Nelson Suburbs and Roslyn-Wakari play their first fixtures.

For Roslyn-Wakari, who didn’t qualify last year, it’s a club debut in the full Women’s South Island League, though they did play in the shorter Women’s South Island Championship in 2022.

All three fixtures will kick off at 12.30pm on Saturday, meaning coaching staff may already be keeping an eye on the progress of their rivals during matches, despite the early stage of the competition.

Up north, Nelson Suburbs will host Coastal Spirit with both teams eyeing a first victory.

Spirit can’t afford to lose many more games if they are to contest the title, while Suburbs will target an improvement on a last-place finish in 2023.

Meanwhile, in Christchurch, Cashmere Technical host Dunedin outfit Roslyn-Wakari at Garrick Memorial Park.

Technical started well with a 3-0 win over Otago University, but, extraordinarily, it was their smallest win this season to date, so it could be a baptism of fire for Roslyn-Wakari.

At Tahuna Park in Dunedin, a local derby of sorts is on the cards.

Dunedin City Royals declared their title credentials with a 2-0 win against Coastal Spirit in the first round, but opponents Otago University are familiar with them and tend to provide a real test.

Game of the week

Abby Rankin … has signed for Dunedin City Royals this year. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

The fortunes of Nelson Suburbs and Coastal Spirit seem to have been headed in opposite directions so far in 2024.

For many years, the Spirit were dominant in South Island women’s football, but after losing the Women’s South Island League and Reta Fitzpatrick Cup titles to Cashmere Technical last year, they seem to have slid further downhill.

In particular, the alarm bells rang loud in a 6-0 Kate Sheppard Cup drubbing against Cashmere.

Suburbs, on the other hand, finished third in qualifying, one place higher than last year, and boasted a draw against the Spirit and an eventually vital victory against UC Football.

Saturdays’ action will provide an intriguing barometer of where the two clubs are at now, especially with the Spirit under new coaching.

Player to watch

As local rivals, Dunedin City Royals and Otago University clash, one player to look out for will be midfielder Abby Rankin.

After two years at Otago University AFC, she’s switched to the Royals this year and already had an impact in what is a new-look attack for them.

Rankin has also featured in two Women’s National League campaigns for Southern United.

Otago University are likely to enact a defensive game plan again this weekend, and their former star might be the key needed by the Royals to unlock them.

Bold prediction

Roslyn-Wakari can be competitive with other sides in the lower section of this league, but they could be in for a tough welcome come this Saturday.

Cashmere Technical have put up some impressive scores in 2024 and have a star-studded attack showing no sign of being stopped right now.

Roslyn have also been more defensively susceptible than the other Dunedin sides that qualified.

I’m picking an 8-0 win for Cashmere at home.


Games to be played on Saturday June 29, 2024

Dunedin City Royals v Otago University
Tahuna Park, Dunedin, 12.30pm

Cashmere Technical v Roslyn Wakari
Garrick Memorial Park, Christchurch, 12.30pm

Nelson Suburbs v Coastal Spirit
Saxton Fields, Nelson, 12.30pm

Logan Smith

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

More football stories