Top teams likely to reach semis
The semifinals of Marlborough football's Knockout Cup should be all division one affairs if tomorrow's four quarterfinal clashes at A&P Park go to form.
Teams from the province's top flight make up six of the eight sides hoping to progress to the final four, and the respective winners of the opening two rounds of division one remain favoured to meet in the final.
Competing on opposite sides of the draw, Blenheim Valley Development and Rangers Pirates are up against fellow division one teams tomorrow, but nothing short of a major upset in either game will prevent them advancing to the August 25 semifinals.
Development face Rangers Saints on the No1 ground at 2.30pm.
Although Saints finished just one spot below BV in round two, Rangers' No2 side will have to produce a major turnaround if they are to stay in the race for the silverware.
Development won the first two matches between the teams this season by a combined score of 16-4, including a 9-2 rout when they last met on June 2.
Defender Sean Nicholson and striker Connor Dunford are under injury clouds for Development, but all other squad members are fit and available.
Player-coach Dave Turner said he would be mixing his team around slightly and trying a couple of different formations during the match.
The good news for Saints is the return of No1 gloveman Billy Rayner and the inclusion of Christchurch-based midfielder Peter Greig, who is back in town for the weekend and has received dispensation to play.
The bad news is the unavailability of regular starters Mark Speedy, Josh Thwaites and Nick Ferdinando. Midfielder Mike Brownlee will not feature, as he was cup tied to Rangers Aces.
Also on the main pitch, Pirates will take on Trojans for the second week running in a 12.30pm game.
Pirates are the in-form division one team and should have few troubles dispatching a Trojans side they beat 5-0 last weekend and who were unable to score a win in round one or two.
The other two quarterfinals are at 2.30pm, with Central v Rangers Aces on No3 and BV Masters v Biddy Kates Rangers on the No2 ground.
Central are going through a minor mid-season slump and finished fourth in division one's round two, but the defending KO Cup champions are still expected to be too strong for division three runners-up Aces.
Masters go in as the favourites against third-placed division two side Biddy Kates, but will need to lift their game after only just sneaking past Rangers Masters to reach the quarterfinals.
- The Marlborough Express
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