Although a very tough task awaits the Marlborough Development football side when they face Nelson Suburbs First XI tomorrow, coach Wolfie Waechter remains confident his side can continue their solid form of late and secure at least a point at A & P Park.
Development have turned in impressive performances in recent weeks, recording a win and a loss against two of the top sides in Nelson's top division.
Two weeks ago they put together perhaps their best performance of the season to overcome Richmond AFC 2-0, before going down 3-0 to an impressive Nelson College First XI on Saturday.
The run doesn't get any easier for Development, with Suburbs sitting at the top of the competition table with eight wins from ten starts. Perhaps it's the reality of playing in Nelson's top division, but it means the young Development side face the top three teams in as many weeks.
Although Suburbs recorded two victories over Development in the teams' previous encounters this year, Waechter believed his side were competitive in both matches and are capable of an upset. He said the key for Development to finding the back of the net is to take their time in attack.
Development's final line-up for tomorrow's match is undecided, as the availability of some players is uncertain following the Marlborough Boys' College First XI match against Waimea College yesterday.
Martin Delgado's return will strengthen the midfield and likely provide Development's impressive finishers, such as Carl Connor-McClean, with attacking opportunities. Meanwhile, at the back, in-form keeper Nick Stanton makes a welcome return.
Tomorrow's match kicks off at A & P Park at 3pm.
In Marlborough club football, tomorrow marks the first round of the Knockout Cup. All 16 club sides are part of the four-round competition, with the schedule drawn at random.
Tomorrow is a round of 16, with winners advancing and losers playing off in the Plate, Bowl and Shield competitions. Rounds one and two take place over the next two weekends, with semifinals and the decider starting on August 23.
The biggest fixture of first-round cup action sees Central face off against Biddy Kate's Rangers at A & P Park at 12.30pm. Both sit in the top four of division one, which ensures a top side will have their campaign cut short early. The Rangers Masters fixture against Blenheim Valley United at A & P at 2.30pm is also set to be a tight contest.
Rangers are currently the top of the division two table, while Blenheim Valley sit bottom of division one.
Other inter-division matches see Clubs of Marlborough Rangers play Picton United at A & P Park at 2.30pm, Picton City face off against Blenheim Valley Cobras at Endeavour Park at 2.30pm, Blenheim Valley Masters and Rangers Hammers take each other on at A & P at 12.30pm and Blenheim Valley Development play Pumprite Trojans at Oliver Park at 12.30pm.
Central Pirates are heavy favourites against Redwood Renegades at Athletic Park at 2.30pm, while division two sides Rangers United and Redwood Tavern Masters play at A & P at 12.30pm.
Meanwhile, Wellington Phoenix and All Whites player Ben Sigmund visits Blenheim this weekend. The Blenheim-born defender visits the region annually to promote the game.
Keep an eye out for Ben on the sidelines of junior and senior, and men's and women's matches throughout the weekend. He will also train with some of Marlborough's talented young players and have breakfast with a group of young footballers on Sunday morning.
- The Marlborough Express