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Sajan Patel was in the New Zealand Under-18 hockey team last year. He is the sports prefect and First XI captain at Rongotai College and has trained in the same gym as Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond.
“It’s pretty surreal when I think about the opportunities I have if I work hard. Hamish Bond was at my gym,” Patel enthuses.
Patel is a member of the newly established Capital Hockey Regional Performance Centre (RPC) programme for the most talented 16 to 21 year old’s nationwide. One of the few school-aged athletes involved, Patel is working under the tutelage of Black Stick and Commonwealth Games silver medalist Dane Lett – Capital Hockey’s high-performance manager.
“It’s pretty intense. We train four times a week in addition to workshops and games, but I’m growing all the time,” Patel reveals.
Patel dabbled in football and rugby as a youngster but inevitably switched to hockey given his family lineage in the sport (mum and dad played). Patel is a striker, but plays in the midfield at Rongotai.
“We don’t have as much depth as some other schools so I play in the midfield for the First XI. As a senior player I’m in a position where I get the ball more and try to lead by example,” Patel explains.
Rongotai finished in the bottom four of the Wellington Premier competition last season but enjoyed a late resurgence making the Founders Cup final, thus confirming their place in the Rankin/India Cup Nationals in 2018.
“Our performances in Wellington were a bit disappointing, but we played well at the Founders Cup, beating HIBS (Hutt International Boys’ School) in the semi-finals and losing to a pretty handy Taupo Nui a Tia College side in the final. It was a good way to finish the season,” Patel reflects.
Patel scored four goals in six games in the Founders Cup and his diligence and fierce shot caught the eye of representative selectors. Patel (who also plays senior club hockey for Naenae) is hopeful Rongotai will perform better local fixtures in 2018.
“We’ve got a good bunch of boys with two Wellington Under-18 reps and a few 15’s and 16’s reps. I think we can be in the top four,” he says.
Patel identifies local Black Stick Stephen Jenness as his favourite player. Sara Cooper (Wellington Girls’ College) is the only other Wellington player involved in the RPC.
Following grading rounds, the Premier 1 secondary school competition gets underway at the NHC next Friday.
The 2018 school hockey season is two weeks old, and Wellington Girls’ College has so far had two good grading competition wins to seal their spot in the Premier 1 competition.
WGC has beaten St Mary’s College (4-0) and Wellington East Girls’ College (4-1) but an early season test for them is this coming Friday, ahead of the competition proper starting on 25 May.
“We have got two wins under the belt, but this Friday we play Queen Margaret College who are probably our biggest rival,” says WGC captain Sara Cooper.
“They have always been strong and we don’t beat them very often,” Sara says. “Last year they were in the final against [winners] St Matthew’s, so they are always tough.”
Sara, who is mainly a midfielder and sometimes at striker, has been in the WGC First XI since year 10 so is starting her fourth season in the team.
Last year WGC came third in Premier 1 behind St Matthew’s Collegiate and QMC before competing in the Jenny Hair national tournament in Palmerston North, two tiers below the tier 1 Federation Cup.
“So we wanted to finish inside the top two to make the Federation Cup. We made the quarter-finals and went to shootouts and it didn’t go our way – we bailed quite early in that competition.”
It was a similar theme the previous year, so a clear goal of WGC in 2018 is to improve on these recent seasons and finish either first or second to qualify for the Federation Cup-Marie Fry Trophy tournament. Sara says WGC has a mix of experienced and up and coming players this season.
“There is also Charlotte Leslie who has been in the team since year 10 with me. There are two more year 13s, Olivia Wills and Georgia Steedon. There is Jade Jones who is a year 12 striker and is the Capital U18 team with me and we have also got quite a few U15 girls in the group.”
Sara says that defending champions St Matthew’s are again a team to beat in Premier 1 this year. “They also have the Capital U18 goalie in their team, Natalie Austin.”
That Capital Women’s U18s side has just been named, along with their Men’s equivalent, to compete in the National U18 tournament in Dunedin in mid-July. So all the players selected in that are also busy training a couple of times a week for representative hockey as well as for their schools. As well as for school and training with the U18s, Sara plays club hockey for Hutt United.
Needless to say, with such a busy schedule, hockey is it for Sara sporting-wise. “It is just hockey for me this year, as it is quite full-on. I used to do a lot of athletics as well, as a hurdler and also did shot put and discus mainly.”
The Capital U18 Women’s Team 2018 is:
Natalie Austin, Jaime Borthwick, Trinity Clarke, Sara Cooper, Bella Cronin-Stone, Brooke Eddie, Ashleigh Hill, Jade Jones, Jessica Kelly, Ariel Kelman, Sophia Kersten, Emma Martin, Maddie Mclaren, Tania Noble-Shedlock, Georgie Peterson, Emily Register, Minna-Rose Reid, Amy Rossiter-Stead.
The St Paul’s Collegiate First XI hockey festival was a resounding success and concluded on Friday. St Paul’s coach Craig Hardham was very excited about the quality of hockey.
“The pre-season was great. To be honest a lot of the teams are very even. Results came down to how much tinkering each team did and how much they used the pre-season to give new players some good experience.”
An example of the unpredictable nature of the results is that Westlake BHS beat Whangarei BHS 4-0. Three weeks ago Westlake got beaten 6-2 by Hamilton BHS, but held them to a 4-4 draw last week while Whangarei BHS beat Hamilton BHS 3-0.
In addition to hockey a tournament dinner was held and respects paid on ANZAC day.
Saint Kentigern College and Westlake BHS were the only unbeaten teams at the tourney with St Kent’s piling on 17 goals and only conceding two. Hamilton BHS held the Auckland powerhouse to a draw and Westlake shared two fixtures.
Hamilton BHS won all five matches last year and only dropped one fixture in 2018. They only finished 9th at the Rankin Cup.
Rankin Cup champions Christ’s College won their first game, but only scored once in their next four.
There were many standout players, but names to watch for during the season include: Luke Aldred (Hamilton BHS), Daniel Woud (St Kentigern College), Oscar Wilson (Christ’s College), Devanad Bhika (Wellington College), Tom Roycroft (Westlake BHS), George Greenhill (St Paul’s Collegiate) and Brendon Peck (Whangarei BHS)
Hamilton BHS: 3 v Wellington College: 1
St Paul’s Collegiate: 0 v St Kentigern College: 5
Westlake BHS: 4 v Napier BHS: 2
Whangarei BHS: 4 v Wairarapa College: 0
Hastings BHS: 2 v Christ’s College: 3
Wellington College: 2 v St Kentigern College: 3
Napier BHS: 1 v Whangarei BHS: 5
St Paul's Collegiate: 5 v Hastings BHS: 1
Hamilton BHS: 3 v Christ’s College: 0
Wairarapa College: 0 v Westlake BHS: 1
Hamilton BHS: 4 v Westlake BHS: 4
Hastings BHS: 1 v Whangarei BHS: 2
Napier BHS: 0 v St Kentigern College: 5
Wairarapa College: 4 v Christ’s College: 0
St Paul's Collegiate: 2 v Wellington College: 1
Westlake BHS: 4 v Whangarei BHS: 0
Hamilton BHS: 0 v St Kentigern College: 0
Wellington College: 5 v Christ’s College: 0
St Paul's Collegiate: 0 v Napier BHS: 0
Wairarapa College: 0 v Hastings BHS: 0
Hastings BHS: 0 v St Kentigern College: 4
Napier BHS: 2 v Christ’s College: 1
Hamilton BHS: 0 v Whangarei BHS: 3
St Paul's Collegiate: 0 v Wairarapa College: 2
Wellington College: 3 v Westlake BHS: 3
The 2018 hockey season gets underway in earnest this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at St. Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton the school hosting the ANZAC festival of hockey.
Featuring 10 of New Zealand’s leading hockey schools, the tournament is strictly pre-season and features five games for each side over the course of three days (two rounds on days one and two and one on day three) with many of the teams not likely to face each other during the course of their respective competitive seasons.
The teams and draw for each of the three days is below:
It was another big year for secondary school hockey this year, culminating in teams from Christchurch and Auckland winning the Rankin and Federation Cups. Below are six players that have performed well this year.
Louis Beckert (Christ’s College) - Christ’s College won the Rankin Cup for the first time since 1991 and goalkeeper Beckert was an essential part of the success. In the final against Christchurch Boys’ High School he kept a clean sheet and saved several penalties in the shootout as Christ’s prevailed. In fact in seven games, Christ’s only conceded six goals with Beckert holding his opponents to zero three times. Beckert was also a member of the Canterbury Under-18 team that won the National title and earned New Zealand honours with the Under-18 squad.
Malachi Busch (King's High School) - It was a busy and successful season for the head boy. Busch led King’s to a successful defence of their Otago title and a top 10 finish at Rankin Cup, before making his National Hockey League debut for the Southern Dogs. Busch is a midfielder and leader of exceptional quality. In October he was one of only three schoolboys selected in the Black Stick’s training squad.
Madison Doar (St Cuthbert’s College) - St Cuthbert’s College’s Madi Doar’s final act in her school hockey career was drilling the match-winning goal in St Cuthbert’s 1-0 Federation Cup final win over Rangi Ruru Girls’ School. Madi Doar was co-captain of her school team (along with Kendall Vaughan) that completed an unbeaten season and beat rivals Auckland Diocesan in the finals of both the Auckland and Super City competition. Madi was injured for the 5-1 Super City final, but returned to lead her side to the national title and she was the tournament’s leading goal-scorer with 10 goals. This was after she had made her debut for the Black Sticks against India in March, later representing Auckland at the National Hockey League tournament following the Federation Cup. Currently In the Black Sticks squad contesting the Hockey World League Final tournament in Auckland.
Connor Greentree (Kristin School) - Greentree was one of only three school boys selected in the 34-man Black Sticks squad which will undergo six days of extensive training in Auckland from December 5-10. Greentree is First XI captain at Kristin School on the North Shore and an outstanding talent having player for Harbour at rep level at various age groups for several years. A creative, tough and skilful player, Greentree has been nominated for College Sport Auckland’s hockey player of the year.
Harry Lawson (Lindisfarne College) - “Sometimes it’s annoying when your teammates aren’t as serious as you, but I enjoy the challenge of helping younger players get better,” Harry Lawson told College Sport Media in October. The defender from Lindisfarne College in Hastings is easily the best player on his team. Twice Hawke’s Bay Secondary School Player of the Year, the resolute and accomplished defender played 99 games for the First XI, skippering the side in his final year. Lawson has played at a rep level at every age group and in October was one of only three school boys selected in the 34-man Black Sticks squad for their December training camp.
Emily Wium (St Margaret's College) - Canterbury schools came second, third and fourth at the Federation Cup tournament in Napier in Winter Tournament Week and St Margaret’s College captain and striker Emily Wium captained her side to a comeback 3-2 win over Villa Maria College in the bronze medal match and to defend the Pat Barwick (challenge) Shield. This was her fifth year in the St Margaret’s team, finishing third in in 2016 as well. Earlier in the year, the former two-time New Zealand U18 representative and New Zealand U21 representative was a key member in the Canterbury U18 team that finished runners-up to Central at their national tournament and was the only schoolgirl in the [2016 champions] Canterbury Cats senior team that competed in the National Hockey League in September following the Federation Cup.
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates many of the leading athletes and teams in each that College Sport Media has followed this year. Preference has gone to those individuals/teams that CSM has interviewed and profiled in 2017. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
“It was a real surprise to make it. I’m not exactly sure what I’m in for, but my goal is to represent New Zealand one day,” Harry Lawson states when asked about being selected in the 34-man Black Sticks squad which will undergo six days of extensive training in Auckland from December 5-10.
Lawson from Lindisfarne College in Hastings is one of three schoolboys picked alongside Malachi Buschel from King’s High School in Dunedin and Connor Greentree from Kristin School in Auckland.
Lindisfarne are hardly world beaters. They finished 25th at Nationals, beating Napier Boys’ High School 4-2 to retain their place at Rankin Cup in 2018.
Lawson’s pedigree has never been in doubt. He played 99 games for his First XI and was captain in 2017. A Central Region under-21 representative when he was 16, Lawson was named Hawke’s Bay Secondary School hockey player of the year in 2016, a title he is likely to reclaim this year. Being the most accomplished player in his team has been both a blessing and a curse.
“Sometimes it’s annoying when your teammates aren’t as serious as you, but I enjoy the challenge of helping younger players get better. It’s hard to get regularly tough competition in a small region like Hawke’s Bay, but when we compete against the likes of Auckland, I get a lot of defensive work against the better teams.” Lawson explains.
Lawson is noted for his resolute defense, but doesn’t see himself exclusively in that capacity.
“I play defense, but have moved into the midfield a bit recently. I would like to think I am a sounder tackler who isn’t afraid to take calculated risks. I enjoy taking players on if the chance arises and it’s good for the team.” Lawson elaborates.
A hockey player since he was 4, Lawson, is also a handy cricketer reaching 2nd XI level at Lindisfarne, unable to commit to the First’s due to hockey commitments.
Lawson has been a Hawke’s Bay age group hockey rep from under-13 Hatch Cup level to under-18s, Lawson believes the biggest rep breakthrough he had was in the Central Region under-21 team which finished fifth in their national competition last year.
“That was a real eye opener playing as a 16 year old, but I did pretty well and it’s motivated me to work harder.” Lawson reveals.
In 2018, Lawson intends to either reside in Auckland or Wellington and undertake a building apprenticeship. His parents are farmers.
Three current school players and a 2016 Rankin Cup winner have been selected in a Black Sticks hockey squad today.
The three current school players in the 24-strong squad are midfielder Malachi Buschel from King’s High School in Dunedin, Connor Greentree from Kristin School in North Harbour and Harry Lawson from Lindisfarne College in Hawke’s Bay.
The fourth teenager is Reuben Andrews who won the Rankin Cup with St Paul’s Collegiate last year (pictured above).
The purpose of the camp is to assess talented players who stood out this year at the Vantage Under 18s, Vantage Under 21s, Ford National Hockey League and Australian Hockey League tournaments.
Athletes will be put through an extensive six days of hockey, physical, psychological and leadership challenges from 5-10 December.
Performances at the camp in early December in Auckland will help decide final selections of the 2018 National and Development squads.
Not all 2017 National Squad members will take part in the camp with several being moved immediately onto their physical programme following an intense 12 months of international and European club commitments.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring players who have come through our talent system into the Vantage Black Sticks environment and see how they stack up,” Smith said.
“You look at the likes of Hayden Phillips, who came into the national programme as a 17-year-old and ended up earning a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“We have a lot of talented athletes around the country so the sooner we can expose them to top level hockey and everything that comes with that the better.”
The full squad is:
“I took the same shot as I did in the Canterbury final against St Andrew’s College. A little right to left drag and then a reverse shot because the keeper went down on the right side leaving the opposite side open.”
Henry Phelps reflects on his successful penalty stroke in last week’s Rankin Cup hockey final for Christ’s College against Christchurch Boys’ High School.
Phelps’ penalty propelled Christ’s into a 2-1 lead after the fourth of five rounds. Christ’s had trailed 1-0 after missing their first two shots. Phelps captured what happened next.
“Christchurch had to score to extend the shootout, but our keeper Louis Beckert saved their last shot which meant we won. Louis is the reason we won. He is awesome. He is a New Zealand Under-18 keeper and loves penalty shootouts and that’s not normal,” Phelps laughs.
A tough tussle between Christ’s College and Christchurch Boys’ High School is very normal. The fierce Canterbury rivals failed to score in regulation time and the extra periods. Christ’s first Rankin Cup title since 1991 would have to be earned via the lottery of penalties.
“It was a super even game, back and forth the whole time. Christchurch was dogged and made things really tough.” Phelps recalls.
“There was one chance they had when one of their players went running up into the circle and hit a hard reverse shot, but Louis dived full length to save it.” Phelps continued.
Mount Albert Grammar School and Rathkeale College didn’t pull off many saves in the round robin matches against Christ’s. Christ’s scored 15 goals in those matches, but were soon to strike a roadblock losing to King’s High School who eventually finished 10th.
“The King’s High game was important for us. It was one of those games where nothing went right, but reminded us we had to be switched on all the time,” Phelps insists.
Christ’s easily accounted for Phelps’ old school Rathkeale College 4-1 in the round of 16 and dispatched Paraparaumu College by the same score in the quarter final. King’s College from Auckland presented a stiff challenge in the semi-final. Christ’s battled gamely to a 1-0 win.
“The King’s game wasn’t as physical as the final, but they were a good side. They had a lot of dangerous players who needed to be marked closely,” Phelps praises.
Phelps’ band Run 77 didn’t make the podium at the finals of the Smokefree Rockquest in Auckland after winning the Christchurch title, but with a Canterbury and National hockey title and a popular band away from sport, 2017 has been kind to Phelps.
“It was awesome to have so many mates from the Wairarapa in the final last year and to be involved myself this year was pretty surreal to be honest. It’s been a good year,” Phelps concludes.
Christ’s only lose five players from their First XI in 2018.
Christ’s College Rankin Cup Results
By her own admission, winning title silverware has proved elusive in recent times for St Margaret’s College hockey First XI captain and striker and Junior Black Sticks player Emily Wium.
Last week, Emily’s St Margaret’s side beat Christchurch rivals Villa Maria College in the bronze medal match at the NZSS Federation Cup tournament. Emily scored the winning goal in extra time - see sequence of photos above.
“Last year we came third as well,” she told College Sport Media. “I have spent five years in the team and we won it in my year 9 but not since! We also came second in the Canterbury SSL competition this year, losing to Rangi Ruru Girls’ School in our final.”
In July, the Canterbury U18s, featuring Emily and some of her St Margaret’s teammates, finished runners-up to Central in the National U18 tournament, while her club side High School Old Boys also finished second this year.
That title win could be coming up over the next few days, with the Canterbury Cats in the NHL tournament that started in Wellington over the weekend.
Emily is the only current secondary school player in Canterbury’s senior representative women’s squad and Canterbury are the defending champions.
The Canterbury Cats opened their tournament with a 3-0 victory over the Southern Storm – with Emily one of the goal-scorers – before beating Capital 1-0 on Sunday. Their last pool game is tomorrow against Auckland, leading up to the final next Sunday.
Beating Villa Maria College in the recent Federation Cup bronze medal match was still good consolation for St Margaret’s.
“We’d had a really close loss [to winners St Cuthbert’s, 1-0] in our semi-final the previous day, it was hard to pick ourselves back up but being the last school game for quite a few of the girls in the team and with the Pat Barwick Shield to defend helped us.”
“It was also kind of a weird feeling playing Villa as we have played them so many times this season.”
St Margaret’s didn’t start well, finding themselves down 2-1 and on the back foot. In the 50th minute, Olivia Allan scored an equaliser and there was no further scoring in regular time. Going to extra time, where first goal wins, Villa Maria put a shot across the face of the open goal, before Emily attacked from halfway for St Margaret’s. Threading her way through the defence, she drove home the winner.
Some of the best rivalries in New Zealand secondary school sport are found amongst the leading Canterbury hockey girls First XIs. Three of the four top finishers at this year’s Federation Cup were Canterbury SSL sides, with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School the beaten finalists.
Emily said the next few years of the St Margaret’s first XI hockey side are looking good. “The majority of our St Margaret’s team are years 11 and 12, and one year 10 too, so the future of our team looks promising.”
Up until 2015, St Margaret’s dominated the competition, winning 12 consecutive titles up to that year.
Hockey runs through Emily’s veins, since playing for the first time at a young age after first filling in for her older sister’s team.
The specialist striker spent two years in the New Zealand U18 team in her year 11 and 12 years.
Plus making the Junior Black Sticks in 2016 as a 17-year old. “Last year I was also in the New Zealand U21 team that played in the Junior World Cup in Chile.” Emily and Kayla Reid from Rangitoto College were the two schoolgirls in that side.
Hockey is Emily’s main sport, although she used to play tennis. Some of her St Margaret’s teammates also play other sports, such as Melanie Puckett who combines hockey with rugby for the Canterbury rugby squad.
After this week’s NHL tournament, Emily will be staying fit for a national U18 training camp in New Plymouth in December.
Emily is unsure what her exact plans are for next year. “My options are open at this stage, I am looking at studying for a geography degree but I don’t know where yet and I want to keep playing hockey and see where that takes me.”
“We were really determined to win the final knowing that it was the last game for the school in an environment where a decent amount of students and family are present,” Hunter Stent recalls of the mood before the Premier I hockey final between Wellington College and Paraparaumu College.
Despite being reigning champions, Wellington wasn’t the favourite to prevail, having been thumped 6-1 by their opposition a few weeks earlier.
“We tried to forget about that result because we had played them a few times before and the results had been closer. The seniors were really driving the will and game plan to succeed,” Stent explains.
Wellington held Paraparaumu to 1-1 in regulation time and with 40 seconds left in 7 versus 7 extra time Marco Brown scored a golden goal to win Wellington the title for the fourth time in six years.
“We’ve had a really good run, but this season wasn’t going so well until that result. We have a lot of young guys and are rebuilding so to win P1 was really special,” Stent acclaims.
Wellington will be forced to rebuild without Stent in 2018, leaving a massive hole in experience. Hunter was the first player in seven years and among a select few to play over 100 games for Wellington College.
“It’s possible to reach 100 games now because we play between 25 and 30 fixtures a season, but even so it's pretty special to think I have played 100 games. I have a lot of great memories,” Stent acclaims.
Hunter’s first game was in Year 9 and he hit the post with his first shot. In Year 10 and 11 he was a striker and a prolific goal scorer alongside Daniel Harris who has been selected in several New Zealand teams.
“Daniel was a great player for us. It was a privilege to play alongside him and I learned a lot from watching him,” Stent praises.
In 2015, Wellington was Premier I champions and finished fourth at the Rankin Cup with Harris scoring 52 goals.
Another fond memory was in 2014 when Stent was a member of the Wellington under-15 side who had to come from behind to beat North Harbour on strokes in the final of the National tournament. It was Wellington’s first win in the event since sharing the title with Auckland in 2004, and it was the first outright win for Wellington since 1997. What’s more Wellington was the only unbeaten team at the event while every other team lost at least twice and Stent was the leading goalscorer, with 11.
Stent played his last three seasons in the midfield. In 2016 he helped Wellington reach the quarterfinals of the Rankin Cup where they were eliminated by eventual winners St Paul’s Collegiate in a controversial fashion. Stent explains what happened.
“It was 1-1 with about five minutes to go when St Paul’s scored a goal to get into the lead. I didn’t see it at the time, but watching it later on video the St Paul’s player touched the ball with his hand. It was unfortunate to lose that way, but who knows what would've happened in extra time?”
This year at Nationals, Wellington was beaten in the final of the India Trophy (second tier) by Saint Kentigern College.
Shortly a hockey honours board will be built at Wellington College. After a fine century Stent is bound to be one of the first names printed.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand