Drip ... drip ... drip ... oh it must feel like a Chinese water torture despite the glorious weather in soccer right now.
With all lower grade competitions dusted, the Pacific Premiership mercifully came to an end on Saturday with the last two dead rubbers.
A composite Jennian Homes Team Gisborne won the premiership several weeks ago, deposing defending champions Geon Taradale with aplomb.
"It was a bit of a nothing game so it was hard for us to get up for it," Taradale player/co-coach Warren Gilbertson said after going down 2-1 to Promotem Napier City Rovers at Taradale Park on Saturday.
Locked nil-all at halftime, the youthful Terry O'Neill-coached Rovers put behind a scratchy start to score through Corey Jensen and Josh Stewart in the last eight minutes.
Keegan Bright drew first blood for Dale in the 61st minute after latching on to a ball goalkeeper Jonty Underhill had parried.
Jensen controlled a ball from Dale keeper Chris Penny about 30m before working into the box for a goal.
Stewart cut in from the right flank into the 18m box before pushing the ball into the far corner of the net from an oblique angle for the winner.
"We had two really good strikes in a game we thought we were going to draw," O'Neill said.
He said it was a weird feeling to be on the sideline as Rovers coach but also mindful he had coached many Dale players at some stage.
"I took some of them from high school, like Warren Gilbertson, Robbie Parker and Wayne Atkins for the Central League team," O'Neill said, adding he had given up a decade of chairmanship at the Rovers club to further his coaching career with Taradale.
With the game "a bit of a blur", Gilbertson said they rested veteran Perry Cotton, Atkins and Richard Gearey.
Perhaps, significantly, the game was a great dress rehearsal for both the sides who are already in the Federation Cup (knockout) final and the sides may end up locking horns in the HB Knockout Cup final.
However, Dale play Hot Shots Marist in one semifinal this Saturday at Park Island, Napier, while on the adjacent field Rovers will take on the Jamie Hall-coached Taradale AFC.
"With both games side by side it'll also be good from the fans' perspective," Gilbertson said.
Marist 3 Vale 2
In a tit-for-tat affair at Park Island, Marist shrugged off a fortnight's rust to pip Cru Bar Maycenvale United 3-2 after a 1-0 lead at the breather.
Jayden Barrow drew first blood before Joel Willetts found the equaliser.
Mitchell Dick put the hosts ahead but Vale's Central League striker Joachim Rande levelled 2-2 in the 77th minute from a penalty kick.
Stung into action, Dick scored the winner a minute later.
That left Vale fifth on the table and Marist seventh.
"If you don't score you don't win games," Marist player/coach Dave Carswell said, mindful of Vale coach Ritchie Howard ruing missed opportunities.
A happy Carswell said it was a perfect finish to Marist's season and an affirmation the club was heading in the right direction.
With high school tournaments starting this week, Carswell said both Marist and the Rovers would be missing players for the cup semifinal this Saturday.
Howard said Vale should have been half a dozen goals up in the first 20 minutes.
He also lauded veteran Marist keeper Ryan Todd for a "superb" display.
"We missed a penalty and we were head and shoulders above them," Howard lamented, after Bjorn Christiansen pushed a penalty kick above the crossbar.
"My players were guilty of taking too long on the ball," he said.
"But I was proud of my young guys and told them to hold their heads up high because they'll grow in stature."
Howard said it was now time for Central Football to reveal what format it would employ next season - Federation League or whatever - so coaches could start preparing.
Gisborne and Geon Dale opted out of playing qualifiers this winter to gain promotion to Central League after the Dion Adams-coached Vale were relegated this year after two seasons in the premier winter league in the Central Football and Capital Football regions.
In the Western Premiership, champions Wanganui City also withdrew but runners-up Palmerston North Marist are now playing Capital champions Upper Hutt for the right to promotion to Central League next season.