In May the Hutt International Boys’ School First XI football season was thrown into potential disarray. Nathan Watt, a Year 13 student and accomplished sportsman, tragically died. First XI co-captain Jack Wylie recalls the immediate aftermath of Watt’s passing.
“Nathan passed on Tuesday and we had a catch up game against Wairarapa College on Thursday. We had a meeting to discuss if we were in the right headspace to play the game and none of us were,” he says.
“Our coach Brendan McIntyre persuaded us to dedicate the season to Nathan which became a powerful motivator.”
HIBS won the Wairarapa game 9-4, an affair which Wylie labelled “insane.” Those 90 minutes were only a temporary comfort.
“Nathan was my best friend. I spoke at his funeral about how supportive he was. He was at the first two games of the season against Scots and Rongotai. I decided to wear his number 14 jersey for the rest of the year as a tribute. That probably explains why I’ve had my best season to date,” Wylie reveals.
Last Wednesday, Wylie led HIBS to a convincing 2-0 victory over St Patrick’s College, Silverstream in the Premier Youth final. It was HIBS third Wellington title in four seasons. HIBS had lost to Silverstream twice previously.
“I don’t think we changed much specifically. We just wanted it more. We tried to play a lot of one touch football knowing Silverstream like to press defensively.” Wylie responded when quizzed about tactics for the decider.
HIBS goals were scored by William Brownlie and Cole Kennedy - the former has been on a rollercoaster ride.
“Cole is our leading goal scorer, but earlier in the season he was struggling for confidence and missed a few games. He came back for the Wellington College game before the final and scored an absolute banger. His goal in the final showed all his speed and skill. It was an outstanding performance from all the boys.” Wylie acclaimed.
In 2017, HIBS lost the Premier Youth final to St Pats Town. Wylie scored HIBS only goal in a rare appearance.
“I made the First XI in Year 11, but got dropped last year because of a shortage of form and confidence. I only played the final because another player got suspended for a red card,” Wylie admits.
“I was surprised to be appointed captain this year, but I’d like to thank Brendan McIntyre and Nick McFayden for their support. Macca is a great motivator as a coach and Nick has been my co-captain all season and actually wore the armband for the final on Wednesday night. He’s one of the best lads I’ve ever played with.”
Next week HIBS will head to Nationals where they are grouped alongside Cashmere College, St Paul’s Collegiate and Mount Albert Grammar School. Wylie is explicit about HIBS goal.
“Our best finish at Nationals is 12th. Our goal this year is to achieve a single digit finish, and who knows what might happen if we made the knockout rounds.”
In the space of three days, the New Zealand U19 men’s footballers have won the OFC U-19 Championship in Tahiti and booked their berth to next year’s FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland.
The FIFA U20 World Cup qualifying spot was achieved first in their 2-1 semi-final win over New Caledonia.
The semi-final win was achieved in thrilling fashion, falling behind in the first half before launching a stirring comeback in the second to win their fourth consecutive match of the tournament.
On Sunday, New Zealand earned a hard fought 1-0 victory over the tournament hosts Tahiti in the final at Stade Pater in Pirae tonight.
Watch video highlights of the final below.
The defining moment came shortly after half-time when Matthew Conroy used his speed to take the ball to the by-line on a counter-attack and cut back well for Trevor Zwetsloot to hit a powerful shot past Tahitian keeper Moana Pito. The 18-year-old from Germany’s Werder Bremen delivered the decisive strike in the final.
It was a pivotal period in the match as moments earlier Tahitian captain Roonui Tehau hit a goal-bound free-kick which was superbly tipped over the bar by New Zealand goalkeeper Cameron Brown.
New Zealand, under Head Coach Des Buckingham, continued their superb record in the OFC U-19 Championship. The defending champions claimed their seventh title and their fifth of the past six tournaments in a performance of character and resilience.
Buckingham was delighted with the team’s performance throughout the tournament as they went through undefeated, scored 23 goals and only conceded two.
“It was a very tough game and you can see the work that Tahiti have put in over the past year,” said Buckingham.
“It really shows on the pitch and they are very hard to break down. We had four days in a camp before we came here so for the players to adapt the way that they have in a short space of time is really pleasing. For both New Zealand and Tahiti to go and represent Oceania at the World Cup next year is a great achievement for both.”
New Zealand captain Joe Bell, who again led by example with a commanding performance in the midfield, said it was a hugely satisfying to book their place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup and also win the championship.
“I am really happy with how the team performed,” said the 19-year-old who plays his football for the University of Virginia.
“The boys put in a great shift in that game. It was very hard and there have been some very talented teams over here. I am very proud to be able to lead them through this. We came here to qualify but we also wanted to win the tournament.
“Our focus is now next year on the World Cup which is going to be very tough but we have a good coaching staff and we will be well prepared for whatever we are going to face.”
OFC U-19 Championship Final
New Zealand 1 (Trevor Zwetsloot 49’) Tahiti 0
New Zealand: 1. Cameron Brown (GK), 2. Jordan Spain, 3. Dino Botica, 4. Joe Bell ©, 5. Robert Tipelu, 6. Dane Schnell, 7. Matthew Conroy (19. Ollie Whyte 68’), 8. Trevor Zwetsloot, 9. Max Mata, 11. Willem Ebbinge, 15. Callan Elliot
Subs not used: 12. Zac Jones (GK), 10. Charles Spragg, 14. Jorge Akers, 16. Leon Ven Den Hoven, 17. Boyd Curry, 18. Kingsley Sinclair
Head Coach Des Buckingham
Caution: Jordan Spain, Joe Bell
OFC U-19 Championship Semi-final
New Zealand 2 (Max Mata 55’, Willem Ebbinge 76’)
New Caledonia 1 (own goal 41’)
New Zealand: 1. Cameron Brown (GK), 2. Jordan Spain, 3. Dino Botica (19. Oliver Whyte 90’ + 5’), 4. Joe Bell (c), 5. Robert Tipelu, 6. Dane Schnell, 7. Matthew Conroy (10. Charles Spragg 62’), 8. Trevor Zwetsloot (11. Willem Ebbinge 40’), 9. Max Mata, 15. Callan Elliot, 16. Leon van den Hoven
Substitutes not used: 12. Zac Jones (GK), 14. Jorge Akers, 17. Boyd Curry, 18. Kingsley Sinclair
Cautions: Leon van den Hoven 27’, Trevor Zwetsloot 33’, Robert Tipelu 50’, Dino Botica 83’, Charles Spragg 83’, Cameron Brown 85’, Callan Elliot 90’ + 6’
Coach: Des Buckingham
They didn’t win a game in the Senior A1 competition last year but Auckland’s Glendowie College 1st XI Girls Football side are just one victory away from clinching the Auckland Provincial Championship (APC) Division Two title on Wednesday.
Playing in the Auckland Senior A1 Competition in 2017, the East Auckland based school were fortunate not to be relegated come the end of the season with just four draws to their name.
Despite this, it was evident the team had the ability to play the beautiful game with a seventh place finish during Winter Tournament Week providing some much needed respite.
Fast forward to 2018, and under a new coach in Steph Trowill, Glendowie is one win away from lifting a trophy, with the APC Division Two Final taking place next Wednesday against Marist College, who were unbeaten in the A1 this season.
Glendowie finished a respectable fifth in the A1 with five wins, two draws and three losses to their name, qualifying them for the APC Division Two.
“I am so proud of the girls’ efforts this season,” Trowill said.
“We haven’t had the easiest of runs to get to the final but the girls have believed in their abilities and fought to the final whistle in each of the games.
“We had to overcome an Auckland Premier side in the Quarter Final and then Western Springs in the Semi who had given us a good run for our money in the league so we knew it was going to be difficult.
“There is no hiding how difficult it was. We were down 2-0 at the break but after some slight tactical changes heading into the second half, being a braver team on attack and some quality keeping by young Carly (Green) we managed to pull off a victory.”
Trowill paid tribute to Green and fellow juniors Lexie Sheed and Hannah Barclay.
“The young guns in our team have really stepped up and competed well at this level.
“Carly hasn’t been in goal for us every week as she also enjoys to play outfield, but when she is between the sticks she has been an unsung hero.
“Lexie and Hannah are both year nine’s and regularly find the back of the net for us.
“Lexie in particular has been instrumental for us up top with her pace and skill. It was unfortunate she was injured for a few games mid-season as I believe if she was fit and able we might have finished higher up the table.”
Year 13 student and Captain, Jasmine Gedye, signaled out a change in formation, the promising talent and coach Trowill as key reasons behind the sides success this season.
“Having a more definitive formation this season has helped our team a lot this season, as has a consistent flow of goals going in,” the 18-year old said.
“Steph coming in as coach has also made a huge difference in the organisation and commitment levels which has been a massive improvement and another reason we have done so well this year.”
With a number of promising youngsters plying their trade in the side, Gedye believes the future is bright.
“After losing nearly every game last year and welcoming many new players to the team this year, it is incredible we have made it this far together.
“With the team built full of young players this year, the talent coming through will only improve in the years to come.
“The team has already improved so much and I am so excited to see what the final will hold for us.”
Ahead of Wednesday’s Final, Trowill, who featured prominently in school girls football between 2009-13 for Botany College and represented the New Zealand Secondary Schools team, plans to keep everything the same in the lead-up to the big game.
“Nothing is going to change in our approach and lead-up to this game, apart from the fact that I promised the team pizza for lunch if they made the final.
“It’s hopefully going to be a special and memorable day for the girls. They will have the afternoon off classes to spend time as a team before departing to the grounds where we will go through our normal routine.
“It’s going to be a tough match, but I am confident in my team’s abilities to push the A1 champions all the way and hopefully cause a bit of an upset.”
The final kicks off at 3:30pm at Seddon Fields which will be followed by the Division One final between Baradene and Saint Kentigern Colleges.
“We lost about four or five key starters. We were sceptical about how things might pan out,” Alex Meaclem concedes when reflecting on the initial prospects for the Cashmere High School First XI Football season.
It appears that pessimism was misguided. Cashmere head into next Wednesday’s Mainland semi-finals as the second ranked qualifiers. They have won 11 out of 12 games and outscored their opposition 53 goals to 8 - while also holding the Connectics Shield for defeating top of the table, St Thomas of Canterbury College.
Cashmere showed glimpses of this promise in 2017, but were left to rue inconsistency.
“We were a strong team without being consistent. We beat St Andrew’s College and Burnside who were both top four schools, but then we’d go and lose to schools below us like Shirley Boys’ and St Bede’s,” Meaclem explains.
“This year were more hungry to produce a performance were proud of every week. There’s no room for complacency,” Meaclem continued.
Cashmere have dropped one match this season, edged 1-2 by Burnside High School. Cashmere put 10 goals past Riccarton High School and accounted for defending champions St Andrew's College 2-0.
However there most significant result was defeating St Thomas of Canterbury College 2-1 to capture the Connectics Shield.
“It was a bit of a surprise, most of the school was expecting St Thomas to win,” Meaclem concedes.
St Thomas was fourth in New Zealand last year and unbeaten prior to meeting Cashmere.
Meaclem captures the dramatic first-half.
“We started well and Axel Trick scored from a free kick. We were up 2-0 at halftime when our Year 11 Jake Grob scored a screamer. We won the ball deep in our half and advanced down field before cutting it back to Jake who curved it past their keeper from five yards outside the penalty box.”
The second half was much tougher.
“We defended the majority of the game, but when we got our chances we were really clinical. Things got a bit nervy when they pulled one back with 15 minutes to go, but I’m really proud of the fight the guys showed.”
Meaclem plays centre back and brings a mature approach to captaincy.
“I think the key to being a good leader is to get the balance right. You want to lead by example, but not play selfishly. I like talk and lift the guys as much as I can, but you can’t overdo it,” Meaclem observes.
Cashmere is being coached by Craig Squire, Tom Wilkinson and Grant Eden, the latter serves in a managerial role while the former devise tactics.
The Mainland semi-finals are next Wednesday night.
Cashmere hosts Burnside High School while St Thomas of Canterbury College tackles St Andrew’s College.
The New Zealand U20 Women, featuring several current secondary school players, have held tournament hosts and powerhouse football nation to a France, a nil-all draw at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup this morning.
In an absorbing encounter played at a high intensity throughout, France dominated possession as expected in front of their boisterous fans but New Zealand had a clear game plan, which they executed perfectly.
“I’m really proud of the performance from the girls, we set them a pretty honest challenge to be better in certain areas from the first game and they certainly delivered on that today,” coach Gareth Turnbull said.
“To be able to back up and go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams at this tournament – and have a proper game where both teams had opportunities – is amazing. I was pleased with the application of the tactical stuff but it was more the character, the heart, the aggression and the energy which they had heaps of.”
New Zealand had performed well in their opening match against the Netherlands and very nearly claimed a point on that occasion too, only a late winner denying them in heart-breaking fashion.
Recently crowned world champions in the men’s game, France finished runners-up in the previous FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016 and also came second in the 2017 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship as defending champions.
Despite being roared on by a vociferous backing at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes though, they struggled to break down a well-organised New Zealand, whose outstanding performance was built on a heroic defensive effort.
But, despite that do-or-die pressure, Turnbull says the feeling in the camp was more relaxed than in that
In a first half of few opportunities, France hardly had a sight of goal while Claudia Bunge had a half chance on the turn early on and captain Malia Steinmetz tried her luck with a speculative effort from distance just before the break.
Clear goal-scoring opportunities continued to be at a premium in the second period, Anna Leat being called into action on only a few occasions to make comfortable saves. New Zealand’s first shot on target in the half arrived just before the hour when Hannah Blake laid off a free kick for Grace Jale to drill low but straight at goalkeeper Mylene Chavas.
France should have taken the lead moments later when Emelyne Laurent somehow blazed over the bar with the goal at her mercy and the hosts were made to pay as New Zealand safely negotiated a late spell of pressure to record the first scoreless draw of the tournament.
New Zealand have now given themselves a chance to progress with a win over Ghana but Turnbull is keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground.
“It’s a little bit out of our hands so we’ll just focus on what we can control,” he said.
To advance, they must now beat Ghana – who are pointless after two matches and have already been eliminated – in their final Group A match on Monday and hope the Netherlands can do them a favour by beating France
New Zealand 0
New Zealand: 1. Anna Leat (GK), 2. Sarah Morton, 4. Elizabeth Anton, 7. Hannah Blake, 8. Malia Steinmetz (c) (12. Rose Morton 85’), 9. Samantha Tawharu (19. Maggie Jenkins 90’ +3’), 10. Grace Jale, 11. Jacqui Hand, 13. Paige Satchell (16. Gabi Rennie 88’) 14. Claudia Bunge, 18. Aneka Mittendorff
Cautions: Paige Satchell 61’, Malia Steinmetz 76’
Substitutes not used: 3. Rebecca Lake, 5. Michaela Foster, 6. Nicole Mettam, 15. Tianna Hill, 17. Dayna Stevens, 20. Nadia Olla (GK), 21. Una Foyle (GK)
Coach: Gareth Turnbull
The draw for the 2018 Lotto Premier Boys First XI Football tournament at Avonhead and Yaldhurst Parks, Christchurch have been announced.
The 32-strong field includes the Top Four from last year: Hamilton BHS, Sacred Heart College, Nelson College and St Thomas of Canterbury College in addition to Auckland Premier League leaders St Kentigern College, perennial powerhouse Mount Albert Grammar School and 2017 Wellington winners St Pats Town - who won’t defend that title this year after a series of upsets in the capital.
Hamilton BHS (Super 8 champions) and St Thomas (leaders in Canterbury) appear to be the strongest contenders to prevent an Auckland School from winning. Only six times since the inception of the competition in 1978 has a school South of the Bombay’s prevailed, but that’s happened twice in the last three years.
Nelson College (2015 champions), Tauranga Boys’ College (Waikato/Bay of Plenty Champions) and Sacred Heart (winners three times in the past five years) appear to be the other strong contenders.
The tournament runs from the 3rd to the 7th of September 2018.
Pool A: Saint Kentigern College, St Peter's, Cambridge, Macleans College, St Andrew's College
Pool B: Sacred Heart College, New Plymouth BHS, St Patrick's College Town, Lincoln HS
Pool C: Westlake BHS, Francis Douglas MC, Wellington College, St Thomas CC
Pool D: Auckland Grammar School, Hamilton BHS, Waimea College, Christchurch BHS
Pool E: Mt Albert GS, St Paul's Collegiate, Hutt International Boys, Cashmere HS
Pool F: Avondale HS, Napier BHS, Nelson College, Kings High School
Pool G: King’s College, Palmerston North BHS, St Patrick's College, Silverstream, Wakatipu HS
Pool H: St Peter's College (Auck), Tauranga BC, Scots College, Burnside HS
The New Zealand U-20 men’s team, featuring three current secondary school players and a group of recent school leavers, defeated home team Tahiti in a tight match on Monday in their OFC U-19 Championship opener.
New Zealand showed good composure and character as they defeated Tahiti 2-1 in front of a boisterous crowd at Stade Pater in Pirae.
“We knew that playing the hosts first up they would come out of the traps flying,” said coach Des Buckingham after the game. “It was important that we got a foothold in the game. We did that. We went into half-time at 0-0 and it was important that we stayed right mentally going into the second half. As it progressed we grew into the game and it was pleasing to see some of the work we have put in pay off.”
Buckingham said his squad has bonded quickly as a group and that puts them in good stead when they come up against tough opposition like Tahiti.
New Zealand are the defending champions and are looking to book their place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland next year.
“We knew that they would be well prepared – the last time they hosted the U-19 Championship they qualified for the World Cup. For us, we had 10 training sessions together and this was our first competitive game together so to get the three points from a 2-1 win over the hosts is a good start.”
Both teams had their chances to open the scoring in the first 45 minutes, but it was experienced forward Max Mata who broke the deadlock shortly after half-time.
New Zealand’s skipper Joe Bell, who led from the front in the middle of the park in his first time captaining his country, went on a searching run and his cross hit the hand of a Tahitian defender. Referee George Time did not hesitate in pointing to the spot and Mata was clinical with his left-footed penalty to the bottom right corner in the 53rd minute.
Eight minutes later there was more to come from the tournament favourites. Leon Van Den Hoven took the ball to the by-line in a run that asked questions of the Tahitian defence – the attacking midfielder from RKC Waalwijk felt that he had a good shout for a penalty but Time waved it away for a corner kick.
Willem Ebbinge stepped up and delivered a great corner kick to the far post to pick out Mata who laid it off for Charles Spragg to finish from close range. It was a great team goal and one that saw New Zealand jump out to a deserved 2-0 lead.
Spragg, who was a standout for the NZ U-17s at the OFC U-16 Championship two years ago when he finished as the tournament’s leading goal scorer with seven, and picking up the golden ball as the tournament’s most valuable player, continued his good record in the Pacific Islands.
Just as the Kiwis were looking to control the final 30 minutes of the game, Tahiti were back in the contest through a wonderful strike from Eddy Kaspard only three minutes later.
New Zealand should have had a third goal when the ball fell fortuitously for Kingsley Sinclair in the box, but his attempt went flying over the bar.
New Zealand play their second game of the OFC U-19 Championship on Thursday against Tonga at the same venue. Tonga lost their opening match to Papua New Guinea 4-0.
Current school players in the team at this tournament are Willem Ebbinge (Scots College), Kingsley Sinclair (Sacred Heart College) and Zac Jones (Wellington College).
OFC U-19 Championship
New Zealand 2 (Max Mata 53’, Charles Spragg 61’) Tahiti 1 (Eddy Kaspard 64’)
Stade Pater, Pirae, Tahiti
New Zealand: 1. Cameron Brown (GK), 2. Jordan Spain, 3. Dino Botica, 4. Joe Bell ©, 5. Robert Tipelu, 9. Max Mata, 10. Charles Spragg (8. Trevor Zwetsloot 66’), 11. Willem Ebbinge (19. Oliver Whyte 90’ + 3’), 15. Callan Elliot, 16. Leon Van Den Hoven (9. Dane Schnell 80’), 18. Kingsley Sinclair
Subs not used: 7. Matthew Conroy, 12. Zac Jones, 14. Jorge Akers, 17. Boyd Curry
Head Coach Des Buckingham
Cautions: Joe Bell, Trevor Zwetsloot
OFC U-19 Championship Schedule
New Zealand vs Tonga
Thursday 9 August, 1pm (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae
Papua New Guinea vs New Zealand
Sunday 12 August, 1pm (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae
August 16 (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae
August 19 (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae
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