Points in the bag for Melville?
Melville United will be looking to bag three points in their away northern league match against struggling Manurewa.
And the Melville (U23s) Fed team will be hoping for an even more comprehensive win when they host cross-town rivals Wanderers Sports Club – remember them? – in a federation league derby at Gower Park at 2.45pm on Saturday.
Melville need to get their northern league promotion charge back on track at Memorial Park after dropping two points at home last weekend, and it has not escaped everyone’s attention that Manurewa have lost both their two matches to date – and conceded eight goals in the process.
Further, Griffins Supporters Club spokesman Ron Biscuit said the fixture represents Melville’s closest-to-home away match this season – with Memorial Park actually being 6km closer to Gower Park than Tauranga’s Links Ave.
“In the circumstances, some fans consider this match the nearest thing to a derby we face this winter,” Biscuit said. “Though we probably should run that past Sam O’Regan, the leading expert on what constitutes a derby in the northern league.”
There is less debate about the status of the Feds match, where Merv Williams’ team will be looking to pile on the misery for Wanderers, who were dicked 10-0 on the opening day of the season.
By contrast, Melville needed a lot of tenacity to beat Tauranga Boys College, but will be far more suited to the wide open spaces of Gower No 1 pitch, with Josh Nooijens able to properly stretch his legs.
Wanderers feature a number of former Melville youth players, which will add to the spice.
“If Melville win, the players will be fully justified in quizzing their opponents on why exactly it was they chose to transfer,” Biscuit said. “On the other hand, should Wanderers win, they will be just as entitled to ask of their opponents: ‘Why did you stay?’
“So the broader matchday theme for this contest is ‘questioning our sense of belonging’ in football’.”
The weekend kicks off Friday 7pm at Gower with defending champions Melville Nobs hosting a strong Otorohanga team in the Waikato A Division.
It was Otorohanga that bundled the Nobs out of the Waikato Cup last season, but Nob Head Gavin Douglas said night football suited his team – on the back of the 3-0 first up win under lights – and this may give them a much-needed edge.
“We’ve got country boys coming to the big smoke, and inevitably they’ll be pre-occupied thinking about hitting Hood St or maybe Wonderhorse later,” Douglas said.
By contrast Douglas was approaching the game as if it was a Bob Seger song…
“I was a little too tall – could’ve used a few pounds; tight pants points hardly renown,” he said. “We’ll be workin’ on mysteries without any clues – workin’ on our night moves.”
On Sunday Melville Premier Women play Claudelands Rovers at 1pm at Gower Park, with two other 11am women’s matches.