Valley dig deep to reach summit
Nelson sides still have three matches to play against each other following the latest round of Top of the South matches tomorrow, but minor placings are all those games will count for if league leader and top Marlborough side Blenheim Valley Development can do the business.
Development go into their final match against Wakefield 1st XI at the Wakefield Domain with five wins and a draw to their name. A sixth win would guarantee them the title, leaving top Nelson contenders FC Nelson Locomotive unable to catch them, after they lost to the BV youngsters a few weeks back.
Dave Turner, player-coach of Development, who have lost just one match all season, said his team were champing at the bit. And while they all knew what was at stake, it had not been mentioned at training on Tuesday and they would be treating the game as any other. After the loss of the Marlborough Mariners, Turner reckoned it would give increased credibility to Marlborough football if his team could secure the title.
Winger Arna Roberts, who will be in Christchurch for a Mainland Pride trial, is the only Development player not available and Turner was hopeful conditions would allow them to play their fast, free-flowing style.
Also travelling over the Whangamoas tomorrow are Central, who could be in for a long day against FC Nelson at the Botanics.
Julian Adamson, Paul Murphy, Nick Allen and Mutsumi Maeshinjo are all unable to make the trip, and Chris Nott is still injured. Spokesman Steve McCaa said they would probably only have the bare XI, which was a tad frustrating ahead of their Knockout Cup semifinal next weekend.
The two Rangers' teams host matches at A&P Park, although Renwick Domain will be used if the A&P grounds are again deemed too high a risk of being damaged.
Pirates go in as favourites when they face Motueka 1st XI on the No 1 pitch and are in a similar situation to Central. Their chances of winning the TOTS are over, but they have a big KO Cup semifinal against Development to prepare for. Player-coach Aaron Hayes will have a full squad at his disposal and said the match was largely about ironing out any kinks, and trying a few things ahead of the battle with Development. Bottom-placed Saints are playing for pride when they host Nelson Suburbs 2nd XI on the No 3 ground.
Manager Warwick Tempero said his side would be underdogs, but felt they were capable of giving any side a scare on their day.
- The Marlborough Express
Who will win the Press Cup on Saturday, 2.30pm, Lansdowne Park, Blenheim?