Top teams set for derby battle

CLAY WILSON
Last updated 07:24 20/07/2012

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The three rounds of Marlborough derbies in the Top of the South football league finish in style tomorrow as the province's best two teams do battle at A&P Park.

For the third time this season, Blenheim Valley Development and Rangers Pirates will square off and, given both sides have strong motivation, the 3pm clash has all the makings of a cracking game of football.

From the perspective of an in-form Development outfit, not only is it a chance to go three-from-three in the TOTS, there is also the small matter of exacting revenge. They won the round one match against Pirates in a canter, 5-0, but Rangers No 1 outfit hit back in round two, winning 2-1.

Development player/coach Dave Turner was hopeful their only loss this season would give his young charges an extra edge tomorrow and would be asking them to give as good as they got against a bigger Pirates unit. Turner is away in Wellington, but he is the only member of their talented squad not expected to be available.

Pirates also have a strong reason to go after the win.

Their TOTS campaign hit a speed bump last week when they were only able to field a makeshift lineup and were beaten 3-2 by Central.

Another loss tomorrow would put an even bigger dent in their already weakened hopes of winning the league.

Player/coach Aaron Hayes was without six of his starting players against Central. Several of those players are expected back, however Pirates were unable to be contacted to confirm.

At the earlier time of 1pm on the same ground, Central take on Rangers Saints in the other third round Marlborough derby.

Despite a 2-1 loss to Saints back in round two and the absence of five members of their squad, the Blues go in as strong favourites for two reasons. Along with the confidence boost they received in beating Pirates, Central's opposition are even more heavily depleted.

Saints injured players Matt Neal and Ian Lusty still have not recovered enough, skipper Mark Speedy and Josh Thwaites are still out of town and Dylan Tempero is leaving for the UK and is out for the rest of the season. Manager Warwick Tempero said they would need players from other Rangers teams to put 11 on the park.

For Central, Dicky Hayward is in Australia, Julian Adamson has work commitments and Chris Nott and Darren Simpson are injured. Steve McCaa is also carrying an injury and would only sit on a limited bench as cover if needed. The unavailabilities mean Terry Sloan's return is timely.

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- The Marlborough Express

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