Wairarapa United’s Pita Rabo celebrating after winning the Chatham Cup final against Napier City Rovers in 2011. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

FOOTBALL

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Wairarapa United men’s coach Phil Keinzley says it has been a “Jekyll and Hyde” season so far for his squad, and he is hoping only Jekyll will turn up for their Chatham Cup match on Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Wairarapa have been drawn to play Wellington United in the second round of the knockout competition they won in 2011, after sitting out the first round with a bye.

The central/capital region clash will hold few surprises for both squads, as they face each other regularly in Central League action.

Their latest clash was last month at Memorial Park in Masterton, and Wairarapa came away with a 3-2 win.

That match did not reflect the form of the two teams in other Central League matches, however, as Wellington United sit second with five wins from seven matches, with Wairarapa in sixth with three wins from their seven matches.

This time the match will be played at Wellington United’s home ground, and Keinzley said beating them last month would count for little when they meet in the Chatham Cup.

“When we beat them it was on the artificial turf here in Masterton, but this match is at Newtown Park, which can turn into a bog at this time of year.

“We haven’t played well away from home either.”

Wairarapa have lost two of their three Central League games away from home so far this season, but did manage a 2-0 win over Stop Out Sports Club.

They can take some heart from their performance in last year’s second round of the Chatham Cup, in which they beat Island Bay United 4-2 away from home.

They then travelled to Napier and won a thrilling third-round match 5-4 in extra time against Napier City Rovers and followed that up with a 2-1 win over Miramar Rangers in the fourth round.

The dream of a second Chatham Cup title came to an end at the quarter-final stage when they went down 2-0 to Central United in Auckland.

Keinzley was aware of the challenge facing his squad to reach those heights once again, but said it was all part of the challenge.

“Out of the two competitions, the Chatham Cup is the one you’d prefer to win.

“It’s [Wellington United] probably the toughest draw in the central region, but you have to meet these teams to win it anyway and it’s definitely the game most people would want to see.”

The Wairarapa United women’s team will have home advantage against Palmerston North Marist for their second-round clash in the Kate Sheppard Cup, and will get an early taste of what to expect as the two teams are set to clash in the Capital Football W-League this weekend.

Beaten but not broken

Martinborough Football Club’s first foray into Chatham Cup football was not a success on the field, but off the pitch it was a different story.

Last weekend’s 15-0 loss to Kapiti Coast United was a steep learning curve for Martinborough, but Paul Brandon said they knew what they were in for.

“It’s top quality opposition – we probably couldn’t have asked for anybody harder.

“It was good for us to travel away from Wairarapa and play somebody in the Wellington leagues.”

The team only had 13 players available for the match, but Brandon said the result would have been similar even with everybody on deck.

But the experience was beneficial in more ways than one, he said.

“You can see what other clubs are doing and get some ideas for what we can do here, as well as build relationships with clubs outside Wairarapa.

“Then we can promote Wairarapa and get them over here.”

Brandon said they may look at entering the competition again in the future, but said it was “not a cheap option” for a small club.