Pirates and Central seek winning run
Rangers Pirates and Central's chances of winning the Top of the South League title are gone, but both have a good reason to finish their campaigns strongly when they play their sixth and penultimate matches of the competition tomorrow.
Both have expressed a desire to finish as second best Marlborough team behind Blenheim Valley Development. However, the main motivation comes in wanting to hit their upcoming Knockout Cup semifinals in the best possible form. That is especially important for Pirates, given they will face Development for a place in the KO Cup final.
Fresh off a disappointing 2-3 loss to FC Nelson Locomotive, Pirates are away to Wakefield 1st XI at the Wakefield Domain tomorrow. The visitors will go in slight favourites considering Wakefield's 0-1 defeat to Rangers Saints last week, but Wakefield dominated almost all of that match and it is unlikely they will be pushovers on their home pitch.
Pirates player/coach Aaron Hayes said they were now concentrating on building towards their KO Cup semifinal and was hopeful of a much improved performance. Hayes would not be travelling, while Richie Vercoe was possibly the same.
Although they would play the TOTS out as if they were still in contention, Central spokesman Steve McCaa admitted his side were now looking towards their long-term goal of defending their KO Cup title. They were originally scheduled to host Nelson Suburbs Second XI on A&P 1 at 3pm tomorrow. However, Marlborough Football general manager Lynette Sutherland said continued wet weather meant unless the A&P Park grounds dried out significantly the two Marlborough games would again be played at Renwick Domain.
Central, beaten 6-0 in Motueka last week, will be keen to bounce back, while Suburbs proved they are more than capable by holding front-runners Development to a draw.
Malcolm Rush is absent for the Blues, but Jimmy Crockett returns.
The other match on this side of the hill pits BV Development against Motueka, where a win for the BV young guns could all but wrap up the silverware.
Despite qualifying as the fourth-ranked Nelson side, Motueka are two from two so far and Development player/coach Dave Turner said they would not underestimate them. He said they had a couple of strong midfielders and felt if his midfield could nullify those players it would go a long way towards them winning. Marius Diconi is back in the mix for Development, but Ollie Baker is unavailable.
After scoring their first competition win last week, Rangers Saints have a tough assignment as they face FC Nelson at the Botanics in Nelson. Saints manager Warwick Tempero already had 12 players confirmed yesterday. Centreback Justin Grant can't play and midfielder Mike Brownlee is also likely to be missing.
- The Marlborough Express
Who will win the Press Cup on Saturday, 2.30pm, Lansdowne Park, Blenheim?