In what is one of the closest finishes in CPL history, the final Bealey’s Ale House round brings to the turf a number of matches that will play out as quarter-finals.
The first men’s match of the final round sees the Hornby Vipers looking to convert their final chance of the regular season for a three pointer against the Southern United Stingers. The Stingers have rocketed up the ladder in recent weeks and currently sit in third place, level with Marist on 20 points but ahead on outright wins. The Stingers fixture against the bottom placed Vipers is theoretically a quarterfinal for the lads as a win will see them qualify for next weekend’s CPL semi-finals. There have been stirs in the Vipers camp, youngster Henry Phelps getting the wood over Sam Fitzgerald and claiming the flicking duties for the weekend. Everything else remains unchanged within the Vipers. Bryan’s ‘stache is still better than Ryan’s, and Will Mace is still pushing for a team name change to the Hornby Dogs.
The wooden spoon is up for grabs in the women’s match between the Hornby Tigers and the Southern United Stars this weekend. Both sides sit on three competition points with just a single win throughout the season. Southern have the more favourable goal difference, therefore the Tigers will have to win the match outright to avoid the spoon. The Stars had the bye last weekend and will be relatively fresh coming into the match despite the midweek match. The Tigers will take confidence into the match having scored three goals against the second placed Old Boys and two goals against the third placed Carlton Redcliffs in their last two matches. Maddy Earle has been in form since her return to the club and will be one to watch.
The Carlton Redcliffs men will be looking to make light work on Avon and then put the heat onto Harewood later in the day. Redcliffs could still snag the president’s shield if they deliver the goods against Avon and then Harewood fail to get up over Old Boys later in the day. Redcliffs appeared to have the shield won last week however conceding a goal in the last minute against Harewood means their fate is now partly out of their hands. Playing to the final hooter will have to be something they are aware of against an Avon side that scored four unanswered second half goals to upset Marist last week. Recently selected Cavalier Declan Keaney will provide a serious threat up front for Redcliffs whilst Joe Piggott will provide the threat for Avon at the BYO later in the evening.
The women’s match between Avon and Carlton Redcliffs is shaping up to be somewhat of a dead rubber. With their recent loss to Marist, the Avon Eels can no longer make the top four and will finish fifth with this weekend’s result having no effect on their outcome. Also, the Redcliffs women will either finish second or third and regardless will play HSOB in their semi-final. The Reindeer will hope to build momentum for next week as they look to play for the opportunity to defend their 2016 title. Kirsty Nation is expected to have recovered from midweek madness by Saturday and be her usual self in the cage.
The Marist men have club history on the line in their round 14 match against University. In quarter-final like fashion, a win against the students will be enough to book Marist their first semi-finals appearance since the clubs birth into the CPL in 2015. With George Connell still expected to be on the sidelines with concussion a lot of extra weight falls on the enhanced shoulders of Josh Meates in the Marist midfield. The Green Machine will have to turn up for the full 70 after leaving at half time last weekend against Avon. The Students have fallen just short of the top four but will be looking to finish the season on a positive note with W.
The final women’s match of the regular season sees competition winners Harewood play the second placed HSOB/Burnside. With their midweek win over Southern United Harewood have already won the Rose Bowl for the 2017 season as they currently sit six points clear having not lost a game yet in their 11 fixtures. The Huntresses will be looking to build momentum before their semi-final next weekend against Marist which they will be strong favourites for. Old Boys have comfortably qualified for the semi-finals but will be hoping to get everything re-oiled before semi-finals after a mid-week hiccup against Marist.
The final men’s match of the weekend sees everything on the line including the President’s shield and the challenge shield for the last time as competition leaders Harewood play HSOB/Burnside. A few weeks ago the Hunters appeared to have the President’s Shield locked up, however after three consecutive draws they now require a win in their final match in order to secure it. Old Boys always provide a tough challenge for Harewood and with Blackstick David Brydon spotted at Old Boys training mid-week the Hunters certainly aren’t taking them lightly. A Harewood hiccup and an Old Boys triumph could see the President’s Shield gifted to Carlton Redcliffs in the final match of the regular season.
Hornby v Southern United – 12.15pm, Waimak Stadium
Carlton Redcliffs v Avon – 1.15pm, Marist Park
Marist v University – 4.15pm, Marist Park
Harewood v HSOB/Burnside – 4.50pm, Waimak Stadium
Hornby v Southern United – 1.45pm, Waimak Stadium
Carlton Redcliffs v Avon – 2.45pm, Marist Park
Harewood v HSOB/Burnside – 3.20pm, Waimak Stadium