Boosted by the return of a couple of a pair of key players, Onslow College successfully defended the College Sport Wellington Regional Championship Senior Girls Futsal title at the one-day tournament at the ASB Centre last week.
Onslow have won a three-peat of titles and captain Maddie Porteous said the team was delighted to win again, with several new players this year.
“We had a new team this year and we only won two games in the just completed Wellington Zone Girls Premier League competition,” said Maddie. “So to win this tournament once more was really amazing.”
“Last year our team was made up predominantly of year 13s, and this year we have many new players including two-year 11s, four year 10s and a year 9– so a very young side.”
Maddie is the sole year 12 player in the group and said the return of two of the school’s leading players for last Wednesday’s tournament was also key to their win.
“Pepi Olliver-Bell [year 13] and Leonara Webb [year 10] both made a huge difference, having not played in our earlier weekly futsal matches this year because of prior football commitments.”
Olivia Ingham is another player who wasn’t involved in Onslow’s futsal programme at all this year – she has just been selected in the New Zealand U20s Women’s squad that plays their Australian counterparts this month.
Onslow beat Wellington East Girls’ High School 1-0 in the final Leonora Webb scoring the winning goal in the third minute of the 20-minute decider.
Protecting that lead for most of the game, what were Onslow’s tactics?
“We had to defend, but at the same time we wanted to keep playing the same game and not change anything because we were playing well. If we started changing things completely then things could go wrong so our mindset was always on looking to scoring more goals ourselves.
“Also, we didn’t want to go to penalties at the end, they are never fun and even more scary than the actual game!”
Onslow, of course, won last year’s College Sport Wellington Senior Girls football title by beating Wellington Girls’ College in a penalty shootout in the final.
“We love playing Wellington East because it is always great competition with them, and we were really lucky to win this game and win the title.”
To get to the final, Onslow and Wellington East played four matches earlier in the day, with the two both finishing unbeaten in these encounters.
Onslow beat Heretaunga College 3-0, Upper Hutt College 9-0, Hutt Valley High School 2-1 and Sacred Heart College 4-0.
Maddie said the win over HVHS was a highlight of the day.
“We knew they would be tough to play, so to come out and beat them 2-1 was a really great result for us.
“The start of the game was even before we scored the first goal to edge ahead, but it was very tough. We were lucky to score a second goal and then in the last 10 seconds they scored their goal.”
As well as Pepi and Leonara, year 13 goal-keeper Waimarie Carter, who let just one goal slip past her in five matches, and defender Maddie were two standouts in this tournament.
The Trophy for the winning team presented for the first time this year was donated by the Ross Family – whose twins Hannah and Nicola played in the team last year and whose sister Kate was a part of this year's team and was a travelling reserve and managed to get some game time.
With no futsal nationals this year owing to Covid, Onslow now turn their attention to the defence of their Wellington football title, with the league starting next term.
After winning in Wellington this year, Maddie said the team was devastated that nationals in Taupo were cancelled as they wanted to carry on and compete against the best schools in New Zealand.
As well as playing for school, many of the players also play club football, with Maddie playing for the North Wellington W League team.
The CSW Regional Futsal Championships involved 10 girls teams:
Onslow, Wellington Girls', Wellington East, Hutt Valley High, Sacred Heart, Upper Hutt, Heretaunga, Scots, Samuel Marsden Collegiate and Wellington High School.
The Onslow team was:
Waimarie Carter, Pepi Olliver-Bell, Maddie Porteous, Ruby Carman, Scarlett O'Donnell, Iona Chaytor, Leonora Webb, Tilly Jowett, Kate Ross & Zoe Ferguson.
Producing a spectacular moment to win a championship with the last play of the game is everyone’s dream in sport.
Last week at the National Under 19 Club Football championships in Napier that desire became a reality for Petone’s Olivia Gibbs.
With her side tied 0-0 against Nelson, Gibbs was fouled 30 yards out from goal. What followed was a spectacular right to left strike that flew beyond the wall, past the keeper, and into the roof of the net.
“You know when you hit it, it feels right, It feels good. When it went in, I couldn’t believe it. It was just pure excitement and relief. It was crazy, I’m still getting over it,” Gibbs said.
“I haven't scored a goal with that amount of pressure behind it. I didn’t realise it was the last minute of the game. Nobody told me. I didn’t turn around and look at the scoreboard. I was like, “ I'm just going to do it otherwise we're eventually going to penalties.
“I’m not going to lie, I've been sent it many times and enjoyed watching it. Ethan Claridge is goalie in our boys team and he got it from the perfect angle so I could watch it dip in. I remember afterwards a lot of the girls were crying. It’s unbelievable.”
Petone had modest expectations prior to the tournament, hoping to “get out of pool play.” Gibbs ensured they started strongly by scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 win against North Wellington. In their next outing Petone came unstuck against a Napier selection (2-3) before holding Nelson to 1-1 draw.
“We didn’t think we could win it until the last day. Everyone played so well. It’s crazy. Kate Marra and Devyn Crawford won so much ball and bring experience from playing in the senior women's’ league. Zara Bowen was unbelievable in goal. The whole team did so well.”
Gibbs' free kick wasn’t a flash in the pan. The attacking midfielder was named tournament MVP and stung Taradale in the semi-finals with a similar effort.
“I always take the free-kicks from about 30 out. Any further out and I’d look to play it forward rather than shoot it.
“The coach took the credit for helping me practice from the same place,” she laughed.
Taradale was accounted for 2-1 but initially that moment didn’t carry over to the decider against Nelson.
“It seemed like a real close game. I thought they had the better of the first-half and we dominated the second.
“I remember winning the free kick clearly. Our right winger ran down the line and crossed it in, but missed hit-it, tried another cross and it came to me. I tried to feed another player but got fouled in a late challenge outside the box and the rest is history.”
Gibbs spent five years in the Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt First XI and identified “friendships” and “beating St Mary’s College” as her personal highlights.
She studies commerce at Victoria University and her twin brother Michael plays in defence for Petone. Her favourite player is Lionel Messi.
Story by Adam Julian/ Photos by Petone Football
These are bleak times. The National Secondary Schools touch, athletics and cricket championships were cancelled on Wednesday, joining September’s winter tournament week on the Covid scrapheap.
First held in 1976, the National Under-19 club football championships typically caters for 68 teams, with others waiting to get in. This year the tournament started on Saturday with just 13 teams in the boys' draw and eight in the girls.'
Even then it was in doubt. North Wellington AFC captain Riley Manuel explains, “There was a COVID case in the Napier K-Mart or something. Teams withdrew at the last minute. We were pretty nervous, but tried to focus on what we could control. We are really grateful it went ahead,” he said.
A gruelling format requires the finalists to get through five pool matches lasting an hour in addition to a quarter and semi-final.
North Wellington didn’t concede a goal until the semi-final against one of the pre-tournament favourites Mirimar Rangers where they required extra time to prevail 3-2.
In the final against Wellington Olympic control was lost as early as the fourth minute when wing Sam Rioga was toppled in the box and George Walker coolly converted a penalty. Misery compounded 25-minutes later when Walker scored again collecting a piercing right-foot pass by Theo Jones on the edge of the area and gracefully turning by a hapless defender leaving the keeper stranded.
“We got off to a slow start”, Manuel admitted, “but once they got that second goal we started to turn up and get on top of them.”
“We didn’t give up, we kept trying, the boys' attitude was pretty good and in tournaments you can gain momentum quickly.”
Following the kickoff at 2-0 striker Alex Mort dashed clear and was knocked off his stride in a heavy collision inside the box with Olympic goalie Toby Hunt. With the penalty Manuel had the chance to half the deficit.
“It’s always nerve racking to take a penalty but I’m lucky I’ve got a lot of experience taking them. Where you shoot depends on the keeper, but deciding where to go beforehand and not changing your mind is pretty important.”
Manuel went right and North Wellington turned at halftime with some optimism 2-1 down.
Mort has a best time of 11.11 in the 100 meters. His searing pace resulted in a swift equaller after the interval when he turned an air-swing by an Olympic defender into an unexpected, opportunist goal.
“Alex got the tournament MVP and was really important for us. Our game plan was to get him running behind defenders and causing chaos. His speed is pretty helpful in tournament football and he jumped on that mistake by Olympic,” Manuel said.
With 15 minutes remaining Mort would pull up lame,but there was no panic.
“It’s pretty important the recovery side of the tournament because that helps you run for a longer time and maintain a physical edge. We had a lot of depth in our squad, great coaches, everyone delivered.
“Our two wingers Ashnarvy Mustapha and Johnny Khoun ran a mile. Our backs are really solid.
“They started to get a bit nervous because we were in rhythm while fatigued. They had quite a few supporters on the opposite side of the main stand and they were getting hyped which kinda made it more fun for us.”
The final lasts an extra ten minutes but if drawn at fulltime stretches another 20 minutes after which penalties follow if the scores are still tied. It was 2-2 with three minutes to go.
“We were on a counter attack. Our winger crossed to our opposite winger and played me into space. I took a shot from about 15 years which took a deflection and it went in. The shot felt good, getting the lead felt even better.
“I try to lead by example and be consistent. I’ve played a lot of senior football this year so I guess I’ve got used to playing at a higher level. Tournament was very different from our senior season where we struggled to gel a lot of the time and lost a few games in the 90th minute.”
Manuel is in Year 12 at St Patrick’s College, Wellington and also plays futsal. Football guru Hamish Wareham covered the tournament and paid tribute to Riley and host club Napier City Rovers.
“Riley led his side superbly, be it creating chances in midfield, doing defensive duties, or rallying his troops. North Wellington thoroughly deserved their title going through to the semi-finals without conceding a goal and then digging deep when it most counted. Napier did a superb job hosting the tournament. It’s like being in Disneyland for a bloke like me. Even if the borders reopen next year, I’ll be here.”
North Wellington Results FC
Lower Hutt, 2-0
Wanganui City, 6-0
Upper Hutt, 0-0
Upper Hutt, 4-0 (Quarter)
Miramar, 3-2 (Semi)
Olympic, 3-2 (Final)
Interview and story by Adam Julian. Photos by Hamish Wareham.
“We could see it coming. We never got too far ahead of ourselves but we had such a good season last year expectations were high,” Thomas Walters of the St John’s College, Hamilton First XI revealed when asked about prospects for 2021.
With nine Year 13’s returning, St John’s achieved something they hadn’t done since 2002 - win the Waikato Secondary Schools Premier Division football title.
St John’s topped the first round of the competition, outpacing eight teams and were then front runners in the second round top four series. A 3-1 victory over perennial winners Hamilton Boys’ High School secured the title.
“It was definitely a good feeling to win. We were second by only a few points last year and Hamilton are our biggest rivals. We play an attacking style of football and aren’t afraid to get stuck in and foul if necessary.
“Against Hamilton we were up 3-0 at halftime. I scored the first goal from a free kick. Riley Sexton got the next one after their keeper dropped the ball from a set piece and Tom Roach got the third after we moved the ball around. We beat them twice which was awesome.”
Walters is an attacking midfielder who scored 11 goals throughout the season. His main attributes are “vision,” “passing” and “leadership.” He has built a productive relationship with coach Darren Walters.
“Darren is passionate about what he does. He went to Auckland Grammar, did some rep coaching, and started with the Colts at St John’s. He’s been with the First XI for eight years and he looks out for us on and off the field.
“He’s encouraged a lot of the boys to get into club football with the likes of Cambridge, Melville and Hamilton Wanderers. The boys have been tested against older players and mixed with different groups which has been really good for us.”
Walters plays for Wanderers who struggled in the senior league but Walters is a regular fixture in representative sides and was convinced St John’s would have produced a good showing at Nationals which were cancelled last month.
“We only lost to Tauranga Boys’ 2-1 and they were a very strong side. We never gave up and I think we won their respect.
“It wasn’t great that Nationals were canceled, but personally winning the league is the end of an era for me. It was a great way to finish my time in the First XI.
Hamilton Boys’ were National champions as recently as 2017. The last time St John’s won the Premier League prior to this season defender Rio Ferdinand was the most expensive player in the world.
Story by Adam Julian, for College Sport Media, October 2021.
“I was scared when I saw it hit the post. We’d already had a couple of near misses. I struck it where I wanted, but I honestly thought it had missed,” Zander Edwards recalls of his first goal in the Trevor Rigby Cup final for Wellington College against Scots College.
Down 1-2 at halftime, Wellington leveled after an hour when Edwards swiftly latched onto a swirling ball and shot between two defenders from 20 yards.
“When it went in I was like this could be our day. It didn’t feel like that earlier.”
Wellington tumbled behind again when Rory Best turned George and netted a third for Scots but Wellington had unflinching faith in their attacking methodology.
“We planned to hit them on attack. We’ve scored a lot of goals this season and you are not going to beat the champions by sitting back. Sometimes we were up too high which left us exposed at the back but generally we’ve got that balance right this season.”
Wellington's third goal was scored when they out-committed Scots in the penalty area.
“I’m not sure what happened but the ball was bouncing around and I thought I’d put it into the back of the net. Scots protested the goal. I heard a high pitch screech, but I don’t think there was anything in it.”
There is plenty of courage in the DNA of Cooper Duggan. The experienced striker hobbled off just prior to halftime, but returned with half an hour remaining, eventually setting up the winner for Edwards with a sizzling burst down the left wing.
“Cooper is a wonderful player, it’s a real privilege to play with him. He is dangerous anytime he gets the ball. He can create as well as score. It was brave of him to come back on, but I wasn’t surprised because we needed him.”
Wellington was able to play more cautiously with the lead, but it wasn’t comfortable.
“It kind of fell apart because Scots got back in our half and had a few shots on goal. We were basically playing for the whistle and didn’t realise there were five minutes of extra time.”
The blustery wind was another tax.
“A wind like Saturday changes the whole complexion of the game. In one half you can hit the long ball but against the breeze you have to play on the deck and weigh your passes.
“Our ground is quite exposed so we often train in the wind. Cones and goals blow over. I honestly think the strong wind was an advantage for us.”
Edwards has given Wellington College an advantage since arriving from Rathkeale College in 2019. In just his second game for Wellington he scored four goals in a staggering 10-0 win against St Patrick’s College, Wellington. In 2021 he scored 21 goals in 18 games and finished the Trevor Rigby Cup as the golden boot winner.
He was born in Northampton, England and supports Arsenal. He is involved with the Miramar Rangers club.
Hamish Wareham is a guru of Wellington Secondary Schools Football and observed:
“Zander is the first player in Trevor Rigby Cup final history to score a hat-trick. I’ve never seen a final like Saturday’s, unbelievable. Wellington struggled to contain Alden Suri in the first-half, Scots' lethal talisman scoring twice. Once Alden was starved of the ball, Wellington was able to dominate and Zander was deadly in front of goal. What a game. I’m still buzzing.”
Story for College Sport Media by Adam Julian, September 2021.
Four years ago, the Onslow College First XI girls football team were languishing in Premier 2. On Wednesday night they won their first Wellington Premier title since 1993 with a victory on penalties against four-time reigning champions, Wellington Girls’ College.
It was the first time since 2003 when Onslow lost to Samuel Marsden they had been involved in a decider.
Onslow was seventh in the Premiership in 2019, jumping to third last year and then champions by holding their nerve in an 11-shot shootout.
The Ross twins, Hannah and Nicola, have been at the forefront of the ascent. Together they have combined for an estimated 160 games. However central defender Hannah concedes she was petrified when her turn to take a penalty arrived at 5-5.
“I went up to take our sixth shot but had a bit of a panic attack, so Scarlett (O’Donnell) was really brave and went instead. I wasn’t standing there to go next, I was standing there cause I’m a really good friend,” Hannah laughed.
Year 10 Scarlett scored while her sister Eliza O'Donnell watched on in the losing team.
“We're not a very sporty school so it means a lot to us and the school to win this trophy,” Hannah said.
“At halftime we had to settle down, pass more, and get more possession in their half. They scored the first goal, and we did well to keep them out. In the second-half our energy levels were up. It was still very stressful, but getting a goal was a great booster,” she continued.
Golden boot winning striker Olivia Ingham was the source of the goal. Attacking midfielder Nicola was at the fore.
“The great thing about our defence is they can transition quickly onto attack. WGC had a good first-half, but we regrouped at halftime and switched on. We created a lot of opportunities. We’ve got a good balance,” Nicola said.
Wellington Girls’ won the last encounter which went to penalties against Onslow but Hannah insists Onslow had a positive mindset.
“Choose a spot, don’t change your mind, and stay calm was our approach. All the girls were amazing.”
The Ross twins have been in the First XI since Year 9. Their leadership has helped nurture a side that only has another Year 13.
“Our coach Rachel Finlay has been amazing. She is a sports scientist and went to the 2018 Under-17 World Cup with New Zealand. We have got dinner at our place next week to celebrate. It is going to be weird not playing for Onslow next year, but I’m proud of what we’ve done,” Nicola concluded.
Wellington College win blockbuster Trevor Rigby final
Wellington College have won their first Trevor Rigby Cup final since 2013, rallying from behind three times to dethrone reigning champions Scots College 4-3.
The winner in the 2021 Wellington Boys Premier 1 football final was scored with about five minutes remaining when the courageous Cooper Duggan burst down the left wing and crossed to Zander Edwards who calmly slotted it past the keeper to complete an epic second-half hat-trick.
Duggan had hobbled off before halftime and was ginger most of the second-spell, summoning the heart and skill to supply the prolific Edwards.
Despite the horribly blustery conditions the spectacle was top shelf. Wellington controlled early possession and created the better chances, but Scots flyer Alden Suri was first to strike with his right foot from a Tom England turnover.
Oscar Crowe always runs a mile for Wellington College and when he latched onto a Jack Julian pass and evaded two defenders scores were tied.
Scots captain Charlie Bachelor set up Suri on the left and the cartwheels he performed were a joyful showcase of superior talent. The halftime score was 2-1.
Long balls were always a lottery and a combination of a lucky bounce and pace saw Edwards split two Scots tacklers and fire a shot into the right post which rebounded into the back of the net, 2-2.
Wellington kept on pressing but Rory Best emulated Suri’s solo brilliance with a searing bust and short on the right wing to make it 3-2 to Scots.
Wellington’s third was protested by Scots. Multiple shots in the penalty area were blocked by Scots. Defender Thijn Overkamp collapsed in distress as the ball was scrambled towards the right corner. Jack Julian whipped a cross back inside and Edwards, quick as a flash forced it in.
Wellington coach Stu Widdowson celebrated his 100th game in charge with a title at a second school; he'd previously been successful at St Pats Town. Wellington’s record for the season was 22 wins, two defeats and a draw in 25 games. They scored 117 goals.
Interviews and stories by Adam Julian, for College Sport Media and College Sport Wellington, September 2021.
In 1981 New Zealand was split over the Springboks tour as the All Whites commenced a giant killing spree which would see them qualify for the Football World Cup for the first time in 1982. Trevor Francis was the world’s richest player.
In Christchurch, St Bede’s College were the Canterbury First XI champions, winning 17 of 20 matches and out-scoring opponents 71-25.
It would take more than 2,000 weeks for St Bede’s to jump back inside a time machine, but last Wednesday the First XI emulated the feat of their 1981 side by defeating Christ’s College 2-1 in the final of the Connetics Mainland League.
Christ’s topped the round-robin, winning all 11 matches and conceding a stingy three goals. They had beaten St Bede’s 3-0 previously but came unstuck against the gritty Catholics. Goalkeeper Finn Mounty is First XI captain.
“We're a physical team. We don’t shy away from tough tackles. Sure, we give away a few fouls but we pride ourselves on playing old school footy. If you're going to do fancy stuff, you better be good at it,” he said.
Christ’s is a polished team renowned for their pace and superior touch. In accordance with the form book they seized an early lead.
“We started off alright with a chance in the first 30 seconds which was really encouraging. Five minutes later we conceded a corner which we didn’t set up properly for. The ball bobbled around, and they went on to tap it in.
“In the past we might have fallen apart but three minutes later our striker Adam Poumaka scored a really good solo goal. The rest of the half was back and forward.”
Mounty joined the First XI in Year 10. St Bede’s won the Plate final (fifth place) three times from 2018 to 2020. This year the top four was a realistic target.
“We had a core group back, two Year 13 strikers, a centre back and new coaches. We had a bit of a shocker against Papanui High School which was a turning point of our season. We had to be more switched on and when we beat St Thomas who've been very strong, we knew we had the makings of a good side.
“We kept on building and became really tight. We had 25 turning up to Sunday training. Our game is about overloading the midfield and cutting off supply for key attackers in the opposition. Cashmere High scored the most goals in the league. We kept them to nil twice to make the final. Christ’s are a quick, possession-based team and we noticed they started rushing things and getting frustrated.”
Without New Zealand Under 19 selection Daniel Metherell, Christ’s was truly strangled. The winning moment for St Bede’s happened in the 83rd minute.
“I sent the ball forwards and one of our players who identified a gap in Christ's defence, passing it through to Josh Coe. Josh changed direction from left to right and shot past the keeper. It was unbelievable. After that we had to dig in our heels.”
St Bede’s thwarted desperate Christ's raids and prevailed 2-1. Managing the team was Chris Hubble; managing the 1981 team was his father Simon, then a staff member. This victory was a big deal among old boys.
“We got a lot of messages thanking us, supporting us, it was unreal. I think a lot of people were really surprised. It’s been such a long time,” Mounty said.
Ironically Ollie Hawkins who coached St Bede’s last season was in charge of Christ’s. St Bede’s was coached by Atticus Jones (23) and Luke Ziswiler-Hayton, a member of the First XI in 2020.
“Luke applied for the job and the school had the confidence in his leadership to pick him. He’s doing a couple of coaching courses and our leadership group talked about treating him with respect. Obviously, he’s my mate, but there had to be a little distance and we all agreed about that.
“Like most boys we enjoy talking a bit of rubbish and because Atticus and Luke are still playing, they could take part in a lot of the drills with us and that made training more fun and challenging.”
Mounty plays his club football for Ferrymead Bays and worked “pretty much fulltime” for Countdown during lockdown. He is the head of the First XV supporters club - notorious for a parochial chanting and chainsaw racket.
“We play on a Wednesday night, the First XV on a Saturday afternoon. I keep the chainsaw at home, but I’m only allowed to use it at home games under certain conditions. I had to sign a contract with the Rector. I can’t go into specifics that would be sacrilege, but it’s fair to say I’m pretty proud to go to St Bede’s. "
Interview and story by Adam Julian, for College Sport Media, September 2021.
“I’m not usually a player that does a skill beforehand,” Charlotte Roche (Year 12) giggles when pondering her favourite goal in the Canterbury Premier Girls’ First XI football final.
The striker scored a hat-trick as St Andrew’s College crushed Rangi Ruru Girls' School 5-0 to capture Sport Canterbury honours following two previous defeats in deciders.
“I was super grateful to have a game coming out of lockdown, especially a final. It was quite surprising how well we played because everyone’s fitness during lockdown went down,” Roche said
“It could have gone either way. Rangi played really well. We were lucky we got on top early otherwise we might have felt the pressure.”
Roche scored the first goal of the game, latching onto a brilliant pass, just outside the box, delivered from halfway.
“That was all Amelia McAllister. The credit’s all hers. We have been playing together since we were five years old and she’s super talented.
“My strengths are running on to through balls, speed, and I like one on one contests with the keeper.”
St Andrew’s had beaten Rangi Ruru 8-0 in the first game of 2021 but their opponents became battle-hardened in their first Premiership season for over a decade. Roche was weary of their threat.
“They improved massively throughout the season, holding Christchurch Girls’ High School to a draw and training hard to beat us in lockdown.
“We have gone into the last three finals winning most of our games and then the pressure has got to us. I think the enthusiasm of playing after lockdown helped.”
St Andrew’s led 3-0 at halftime and Roche applied the explanation mark with two second-half goals.
“There was one I scored where I did some skill and that was one I was really excited about. I’m just super grateful to have had a game. It’s really exciting.
“We lost the two previous finals to Burnside. They are a really good side and they were close games we could have won, but we let the occasion get the better of us.”
St Andrew’s won all nine Premier fixtures, outscoring opponents 41-7. Roche identified two goals she scored against Christchurch Girls’ High School as a highlight.
In 2019 she was named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools squad that was scheduled to tour the USA before the arrival of COVID-19. She has also been involved with the New Zealand Under-17 programme.
“That was awesome to go up against other players and experience a New Zealand set up.
“It's really exciting to be in football at the moment with the Phoenix joining the A-League. With the uncertainty of COVID it gives players something to aspire to. I think I’m a long way off that, but it’s going to be cool to watch all the other players.”
Roche has already competed against some of New Zealand’s elite senior talent. She plays her club football for Waimakariri United in the Mainland Premier League. The competition was won by Coastal Spirit who won all 15 matches and outscored opposition 117-6 making them one of the best teams in the country. Coach Juan Chang mentors St Andrew’s with support from Canterbury pride head Alana Gunn.
“I’m really lucky to have good coaches. Juan and Alana Gunn put so much time in and their record speaks for itself.”
Roche has ambitions to be a doctor but her desire to play football has only strengthened over lockdown. The next big event are national age group tournaments, dates yet to be confirmed in December.
Story by Adam Julian, for College Sport Media, September 2021.
The National Secondary Schools First XI football Premier Tournament returns in 2021 after the Covid cancellation of 2020. Last week the boys draw was made for the 32-team tournament to be contested at Park Island, Napier from August 30 to September 3.
There are eight pools with teams each. Three points are achieved for a win with a point for a draw. The top two from each group advance to the second round.
The defending champions are Sacred Heart College who beat Auckland Grammar School 2-1 in the 2019 decider. Grammar opened the scoring with a 25-metre shot by Alex Smith and held that advantage in chilly conditions until the for 35 minutes until Samuel Pointon levelled proceedings when his low, swirling, strike proved elusive.
The winning goal, a penalty, was scored by Riwai Stanton with the last kick in the first-half of extra time. Stanton latched onto a high ball, controlled on the chest, and was brought down in the box while attempting to shoot. The spot kick was calmly executed, driven firmly into the bottom right corner of the net, despite a correct prediction of its direction by the Grammar keeper.
Sacred Heart have won Nationals five times since 2011 and Auckland Grammar a record ten times since its inception in 1978, but not since 2007. Unfortunately, in 2021 both Auckland powerhouses have dipped in the Premier League with 11 combined losses in 21 games. Still in a tournament format both sides can’t be discounted. The Auckland League is headed by Saint Kentigern College who have lost just one game and outscored opponents 41-11. Westlake Boys’ High School are second with eight wins and 37 goals in 11 fixtures.
In the central North Island, Tauranga Boys’ College, Hamilton Boys’ High School and St Peter’s Cambridge are possibly the strongest looking teams. Tauranga won the Super 8 tournament scoring a record 33 goals in five matches. They are superbly led by Jordan Toy and longtime coach Neil Howard brings a lot of experience. He coached a National final in 2002. Hamilton Boys’ won Nationals in 2017 with the goal-keeping of Keegan Hansen proving unforgettable. He even scored a penalty in the final shootout.
The Wellington competition is led by two-time defending champions Scots College where Charlie Batchelor has been a real standout. However, a Scots victory isn’t a foregone conclusion. Wellington College has their strongest team in several years spearheaded by Zander Edwards. Rathkeale could be a dark horse after they upset Scots and boast Riley Grover while HIBS are coached by fiery veteran Brendan McInytre and in Lucas Jelly have a creative, goal scoring threat.
Nelson College are the most recent champions from the South Island winning at home in 2015. They will turn up battle hardened as they often play against senior club sides.
Christchurch is blessed with many fine teams. The Mainland Premiership consisting of a dozen schools is headed by Christ’s College who have won all 10 matches and scored 32 goals. Charlie Cameron and Caleb Manson have been prolific this season as have second-placed Cashmere who have scored 41 goals in their ten games.
Kings and Otago Boys’ are well ahead in Dunedin with King’s outscoring opponents 37-2 in the Premier competition.
St Thomas of Canterbury College
Palmerston North Boys’ High School
St Patrick’s College, Wellington
Westlake Boys’ High School
St Kentigern College
St Peters Cambridge
Mount Albert Grammar School
Otago Boys’ High School
St John’s College, Hamilton
Whangarei Boys’ High School
St Peter’s College, Auckland
New Plymouth Boys’ High School
Hutt International Boys’ School
Auckland Grammar School
Hastings Boys’ High School
Sacred Heart College
Tauranga Boys’ College
Shirley Boys’ High School
Kings High School
Hamilton Boys’ High School
Napier Boys’ High School
Cashmere High School
Tauranga Boys’ College won the Super 8 First XI football title for the second time in three years last week in Napier.
Furthermore, they created history with the most comprehensive triumph any school has achieved in the tournament, stretching back to 1998.
Tauranga won all five matches and outscored opponents 33-2. In the final they defeated New Plymouth Boys’ High School (BHS) 3-0, despite captain Jordan Toy being restricted to limited minutes.
“I sprained my MCL two weeks before the tournament and it was doubtful I’d make it. Being my last year I was determined to be a part of the squad. It’s a credit to our coaches Mr Howard and Mr Bryant they allowed me to attend and support the boys,” Toy said.
Toy was more than a supporter. The New Zealand Secondary Schools representative, captain of the First XI the past two seasons, was often employed late in matches where his leadership helped seal victories.
“Every time I came on we were up, but I had to help claim the boys down. It is a long tournament and I wanted us to keep the ball instead of playing like headless chickens and wasting energy.
“I’m definitely pretty vocal because I think we’ve got such a good team.”
A disciplined Hastings BHS would hold Tauranga until halftime of the first group game. Alex Searle broke the deadlock ten minutes into the second half and Jonty Bidois added a second, a 2-0 win secured.
In the afternoon Gisborne BHS was expected to be a stiff challenge following a narrow defeat to Hamilton BHS. The final scoreline of 18-1 was truly remarkable. Liam Knight and Searle scored four apiece, with Vincent Phirun, Bidois and Ry McLeod all scoring hat tricks. Jack Pateman added one as well.
“Gisborne finished with eight players, but they were always positive, trying and smiling. Our center back had a bit of a mare which allowed them to score but that is a credit to Gisborne.
“I was pleased we didn’t take the foot of the throat,” Toy said.
Tauranga would have to be at their clinical best to account for Hamilton BHS. Tauranga confirmed their place at Nationals with victories over St John’s College (Hamilton), St Paul’s Collegiate, St Peter’s Cambridge and Rotorua Boys’ High School, but lost to Hamilton in a Waikato/Bay of Plenty qualifying series.
After 10 seconds Jonty Bidois had carved out the first chance and from then on it was one way traffic. Ball speed, accurate passing and neat finishing saw Bidois wrap up his hat trick before the half time break. Nathan Rostron and Liam Knight added further goals in the second half as Tauranga won 5-0.
Palmerston North BHS is the most successful side in Super 8 history, but after 15 minutes faced a 3-0 deficit with Phirun, Knight and Searle alluding the Palmy keeper.
“We talked about starting each game strong and putting the pressure on the opposition. If we started strongly, we could rotate players and force errors.”
New Plymouth BHS have been Super 8 finalists the past three seasons and Toy was weary.
“I knew it would be a tough final, they’ve got a lot of experience, but we approached it as a big game and came out strong. We didn’t want to give them a sniff.”
“Alex Searle opened the game with an early goal and did a bit of a black flip which got the boys fired up. After that I felt like we dommanited, though they did play some good football and create chances.”
Tauranga led 1-0 at halftime and goals to Searle and Bidois, who scored in every game in the tournament, secured an impressive 3-0 victory.
Toy is a pacey right winger familiar with silverware. In 2019 he helped Tauranga win the Super 8 for the first time since 2007 and he plays his club football for Tauranga City AFC helping them with the Under-17 Nationals in 2020 and the Under-19 equivalent in 2019.
The deputy head prefect is on the radar of the Phoenix.
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