Waikato football teams line up for their shot at a Chatham Cup fairytale

There will be seven Waikato teams in action in the preliminary round of the Chatham Cup.
SHANE WENZLICK/PHOTOTEK.NZ

There will be seven Waikato teams in action in the preliminary round of the Chatham Cup.

Seven Waikato teams will line up in the preliminary round of the Chatham Cup over the next few days, looking to advance to the first round and potentially draw a glamour clash.

Five hail from the WaiBop Premiership competition, including Waikato Unicol, who host league rivals Old Blues from Tauranga at Jansen Park on Saturday, in one of two all-premiership ties. The other features Taupo, who host Otumoetai, another Tauranga side, on the same day.

Matamata Swifts are also in action on Saturday, hosting Auckland Sunday leaguers Internationale, while Cambridge must hit the road to play Tokoroa, who played in the WaiBop Championship, which is the next level down.

On Sunday, Te Awamutu, are away to Auckland Wanderers, another Sunday league outfit, while on Anzac Day on Tuesday, premiership side West Hamilton United host HNK Auckland, a Croatian Sunday league team.

READ MORE: Wanderers draw; Melville, Claudelands win

Altogether, 127 teams have entered this year's Chatham Cup, which is the 90th edition of the tournament.

The last time a Waikato club tasted success in the competition, which is contested on a knockout basis, was in 1988, when Waikato United, a now-defunct national league side, beat Christchurch United over two legs thanks to the away goals rule.

Since then, two teams have made the final - Waikato United again in 1992 and Melville United in 2003 - but they lost on both occasions.

Melville have joined fellow Northern league clubs Hamilton Wanderers and Claudelands Rovers in being granted byes to the first round, which will be played on May 14 and 15. As a premier division club, Wanderers are likely not to enter until the second round, on Queen's Birthday weekend.

AT A GLANCE

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Chatham Cup preliminary round

All games kick off at 2pm

Saturday, April 22: Matamata Swifts v Internationale; Waikato Unicol v Old Blues; Tokoroa v Cambridge; Taupo v Otumoetai

Sunday, April 23: Auckland Wanderers v Te Awamutu

Tuesday, April 25: West Hamilton United v HNK Auckland

 - Stuff

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