Cambridge will compete against four new rivals – including former national champions Manurewa – in next year’s Northern League.
With most of the promotion and relegation battles already settled, planning can start already for a 2019 season that will bring Manurewa, Oratia United, Greenhithe and one yet-to-be-decided NRFL newcomer to John Kerkhof Park.
Manurewa have the best record of next year’s division two, having been champions of the NZ National League in 1983 and three-time winners of the Chatham Cup.
The Reds will have to travel at least seven times to Auckland plus make a 600km round trip to play Northland FC.
Their nearest rivals will be Hamilton-based Claudelands Rovers and WaiBOP rivals Ngongotaha.
A play-off series will decide whether a fourth WaiBOP team will join the competition with Taupo, Papamoa and Waikato Unicol all in the running for a shot at promotion.
To qualify for a play-off, the winner of the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership has to be determined no later than mid-September.
These are the clubs Cambridge will play next season:
Manurewa AFC (relegated from Division 1)
Oratia United (relegated from Division 1)
Claudelands Rovers (3rd in Division 2)
Metro FC (4th in Division 2)
Franklin United (5th in Division 2)
Albany United (6th in Division 2)
Ngongotaha (8th in Division 2)
Northland FC (9th in Division 2)
Onehunga Mangere United (10th in Division 2)
Greenhithe Catimba MC (promoted as champions of AFF/NFF Conference)
One more club will join the competition as a result of a potential play-off between the runners-up of the AFF/NFF Conference (Unimount MCL Bohemian Celtic) and the winners of the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership (a three-way fight between Taupo, Papamoa and Waikato Unicol).
This year’s opponents who the Reds will not play next season are:
Takapuna (promoted to Division 1)
Bucklands Beach (promoted to Division 1)
Te Atatu (relegated from the NRFL)
Papakura City (relegated from the NRFL)