Auckland venue an issue for Wellington teams

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2012
Jamie Farrington
Chris Skelton/Fairfax NZ
AUCKLAND BIAS: Miramar captain Jamie Farrington says it would make no sense to play the Chatham Cup final in Auckland if two Wellington teams are involved.

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Aa a two-times Chatham Cup champion, Miramar Rangers captain Jamie Farrington knows the danger of looking beyond the next round - but drawn at home against Central United in one of the semifinals on August 4-5 he can't avoid a wee glance at the match that might follow.

Caversham are the other team at home for the semis, where they'll meet Lower Hutt City.

Despite one Auckland team (Central) making it to the last four, the final is scheduled to be played at North Harbour Stadium on August 26.

In announcing the semifinal draw yesterday, New Zealand Football did suggest an alternative venue would be sought for the final "if no Auckland team is involved".

Last year's decider, between eventual winners Wairarapa United and Napier City Rovers, was sensibly shifted to Palmerston North, providing a neutral venue near to both clubs.

But given seven of the past 12 winners have come from the Central League, the fact North Harbour Stadium is home to New Zealand Football's offices can be the only reason why the final is scheduled there season after season.

"I don't want to get too far ahead of myself but if it's a Miramar-Lower Hutt final, it it makes no sense playing it up in Auckland - for obvious reasons," said Farrington, a previous cup winner with Miramar in 2004 and 2010.

"That's up to the New Zealand Football administrators to decide but, from a Lower Hutt perspective, they were up in Auckland yesterday, they're down in Caversham for the next round and possibly having to go up and play in Auckland again.

"From the perspective of clubs playing at a purely amateur level, it's not a cheap competition to participate in, especially if you get a draw like Lower Hutt has had."

Attempts to contact someone from Lower Hutt City were unsuccessful yesterday.

But their reward for beating Birkenhead 3-2 in Sunday's away quarter-final was to be drawn to meet Caversham at Dunedin's Caledonian ground.

Miramar, meanwhile, will host Central at Dave Farrington Park.

"It's a huge advantage," said Jamie Farrington, whose side were at home for their 5-1 thrashing of Dunedin Technical on Sunday.

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