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The luck of the draw

Me sending Eastern Suburbs to Christchurch. I hear it's nice this time of year...

Me sending Eastern Suburbs to Christchurch. I hear it’s nice this time of year…

My earliest memory of the Chatham Cup draw is listening to it on the radio while driving along the streets of Hamilton in my uncle’s Bedford Van. I was helping him do some water-blasting work during my school holidays for a bit of extra pocket money. I remember him hushing me quiet as he turned the radio up loud enough to carry over the sound of the slightly worse for wear engine so that he could listen intently.

When the name he was waiting for was read out, that of Ngaruawahia United, the team he had played for in his day, there was a sharp intake of breath. After a long pause came the all-important “YEAGH!!!” that signified that they had received an opponent that had met with his approval. He was whistling a happy tune for the rest of the day.

They don’t do the draw on the radio anymore, and that’s a pity for two big reasons that immediately leap to my mind. Firstly, because it has robbed future generations of that formative experience that I enjoyed. And secondly, because now we tend to see all sorts of conspiracy theories around social media about the draw being rigged.

It was undoubtedly that latter reason that led to my invitation to pop into North Harbour Stadium this morning and witness both the Chatham Cup quarter-final and the New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup semi-final draws take place. The big surprise that awaited both myself and Jeremy Ruane when we arrived was that we didn’t just get to watch the draw, we actually got to DO the draw!

Jeremy drew all the home teams and I drew all the away. This division of labour contained one fatal flaw from my perspective that I’m not entirely sure was completely accidental… He got to make people happy and I got to piss them off!!

In the Chatham Cup I sent poor old Mangere United, probably the team with the scarcest resources of the group of eight, on the longest trip of all to Dunedin Technical. I also sent Eastern Suburbs on the second longest trip, to Cashmere Technical in Christchurch. I gave Central a very tricky trip across the bridge to face Birkenhead and, thanks to me, Wellington’s Western Suburbs will have to entertain Central League table topping Napier City Rovers.

In the KO I managed to send Coastal Spirit to Palmerston North to play Massey University, and the winner of Eastern Suburbs v Western Springs will have to face the very tall order of Glenfield at McFetridge Park.

One thing I don’t believe I can be accused of is rigging the draw. If I had rigged it, I definitely would have had a lot more of an appreciation for my personal safety!

Anyone know how I can get into the witness protection programme?

Categories: NZ Chatham Cup

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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