Independiente’s fourth win of the season, a 3-1 win against Auckland Volcanoes, means that they will be playing Premiership football once again next season, at the expense of Auckland Wanderers, who will be looking to re-group and join AUT FC 1 in a fight for the 2019 Championship title in 2019. Kiwi True Blues came out on top of the only other remaining Premiership fixture, beating runners up Internationale 2-0 to ensure they finished their first season in the top division eight points ahead of everyone else, obtaining an impressive 35 points from a possible 42. Will KTB be able to defend the title next year?
One team that will surely be looking to challenge KTB, and possibly replicate what they have done, is HNK Auckland. This year’s Championship winners finished their first, and I suspect only, season in the second tier with a 5-2 win away at Khukuri, finishing the season with 13 wins and 39 points. Runners up, Bohemian Celtics were handed a 3-0 win against United and will be looking to finish their season in similar fashion to HNK next Sunday, with a win against Khukuri. Next season should see the Championship return to an eight-team division, although the identity of the eighth team is still unknown, with Zamantix Force currently sitting second in the yet to be concluded League 1.
A couple of weeks ago, Nixon Park looked like they were on course to join League 1 Champions Dalian in the Championship next season. Two successive defaults, however, have seen them drop out three places and out of contention. Zamantix Force were handed the 3-0 win this week, ensuring they have a five point lead over third-placed Spermwhales, who lost 2-1 against the in-form, fourth-placed, Western Wanderers. Unlike the teams around them, the Wanderers still have three games to play, meaning they could finish the season on 34 points (one more than the Force currently have, with only one game remaining). The first of these three fixtures is at home against Double Rum Greenhithe, who look destined to be playing in League 2 again in 2019 after their 5-2 home loss to City Fringe on Sunday. DRG have two games remaining to save themselves, the last of which is in a couple of weeks against AUT FC 2, whose own relegation was confirmed as a result of their 5-3 loss to Kamarak. 5-3 was also the score of the Dalian versus Zamantix Rovers Return fixture, which means the Champions will be going into their final game of the season against second placed Zamantix Force, looking to be the only team to finish the 2018 season without a loss (the Western Wanderers defeat was overturned due to the Wanderers breaking the rules). As it turns out, the 3 point penalty that Wanderers received for that offence could well be the difference between them winning promotion or facing a second season in League 1 (a costly mistake). The Whales host Kamarak, looking to close the gap at the top, whilst City Fringe host Rovers Return, knowing a win would guarantee their safety and sent DRG down.
Tune in next week to see how things turn out!