New blood debuts in Charity Cup comp

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 04/08/2012

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Southland premier men's football teams still have plenty to play for over the final three weeks of the season, with the Charity Cup knockout tournament beginning today.

Most of the Donald Gray Cup premier clubs are already starting to cast an eye towards next year, and will be using the Charity Cup to experiment with their lineups and blood younger players.

Old Boys have entered two sides in the knockout competition, with their all-conquering Gray Cup winning team earning a bye for the first round.

The Old Boys B team take on Waihopai at 1pm at the ILT Football Turf today. Their side will feature several veterans in Gordon Lamont, Scott Mackenzie and Dave Fosbender, mixed with the youthful flair of Diego Tuheke, Callum Smith, Joel Fletcher, Abe Cole and Michael Preddy.

Waihopai are without the services of talented midfielder Carl Henderson, Nathan Singh and Ben Murphy for the clash, but bring in development team member Michael Seibt and the experienced Nick Hamlin.

Queens Park play Thistle in the later 2.45pm game at the turf and will be aiming to finish the season with some silverware, after missing out to Old Boys by just two points in the Gray Cup title race.

Park have been dealt a blow for the game with impressive Irish striker Joey O'Neill, who has scored six goals in his last two games, unavailable. Defender Scott Stratton is also out, as is Scottish hardman Ross Johnston.

They will be boosted by young guns Nick Edwards, Hayden Smith and Jesse Martin.

The other first-round cup fixture sees Southend United, who finished last in the Gray Cup, drawn against division one champions Winton.

A battle royal will be fought in the women's Kolk Trophy tomorrow, when leaders Southend United and Queenstown Rovers meet at Bain Park at 1pm. They are level on points, with two rounds left, meaning it will effectively decide who wins the title.

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- The Southland Times

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