“Rosmini is a great side. We lost to them 6-0 in the round robin. It was our biggest loss ever and we were way off our best. We resolved if we played them again, that wouldn’t happen again,” asserts Jack Seton goalkeeper for the Auckland Grammar School First XI hockey team.
Last Wednesday in the Super City final, Grammar upset Rosmini 1-0. In the round robin Rosmini had outscored all opponents 38-1.
“We decided our best player Harry Ratcliffe would mark their best player. That didn't happen in the last game. It was a gamble, but we wanted to weather the storm,” Seton explains.
Rosmini was contained for the first fifteen minutes and Grammar’s confidence began to grow. After 15 minutes the underdogs had a major breakthrough. Ishan Naik scored a goal from a penalty corner.
“Rosmini like to play fast so we wanted to frustrate them, slow it down and catch them on the break. Ishan took his chance,” Seton praises.
In the last fixture of the regular season Grammar was beaten by fierce rivals King’s College, a result they managed to reverse in the semi-finals the following week. Seton was a major player in that success.
“The semi-final was a great game. Three times we went down, three times we came back. It went to penalties and I managed to save one and they missed two. It was a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t want to do it again,” Seton laughs.
Grammar’s resilience was telling. Rosmini was unable to breach the defence and lacked their usual polish even sacrificing their own keep late in the contest in pursuit of an equaliser.
“It was a huge effort by the boys. We’ve had a couple of losses this year, but we have learned from them and are training hard for Rankin Cup,” Seton enthuses.
Grammar is grouped with three South Island schools in John McGlashan College, St Bede’s College and Christ’s College who they beat 5-0 in the 9th placed playoff in 2016.
The Rankin Cup and India Shield tournaments start in Hamilton next Monday.
View the draw here: https://hockeynz.altiusrt.com/competitions/203
Boys secondary school hockey is rapidly approaching the business end of the season with the Rankin Cup being held in Hamilton in September.
In the leading competitions nationwide most finals will happen in the coming week.
There are only five undefeated teams at this stage heading towards the India Shield and Rankin Cup.
The undefeated teams playing in secondary school competitions are: Rosmini College, Hamilton Boys’ High School, Paraparaumu College, Christ’s College and King’s High School from Dunedin. Coincidentally both Rosmini and Paraparaumu qualified for Rankin this year by winning their respective tier three tournaments last year.
It should be noted that some schools play in the men’s competitions such as Whangarei Boys’ High School, Palmerston North Boys’ High School and Tauranga Boys’ College.
Much has been made of Hamilton Boys’ record of 17 unbeaten wins this season, but they only beat 2016 Rankin Cup winners St Paul’s Collegiate by a solitary goal in the first competition match. St Paul’s toured Christchurch last month to play Christ’s, Christchurch BHS and St Andrew’s College. They lost their first game 5-1 to Christ’s, but performed better in their second game only losing 3-2. St Paul’s unfortunately didn’t get to play Christchurch Boys’, because of poor weather
Rosmini heads into the Auckland Super City league final as warm favourites to capture the title. Rosmini has dispatched its opposition convincingly, including beating last year’s third place finisher, Rangitoto College by ten goals along the way.
Although Rosmini only just beat Westlake in their semi-final, they will prove tough to beat at Rankin. What adds further credence to their claim is that they have three field players and a goalie who have been selected as part of the New Zealand U18 Development Camp squad which has just been released comprising 33 players.
Rosmini had the following players in the North Harbour reps: Callum Dempster, Ryan Harrison, Kiharoa Iversen, Joshua Paul, Sam Schofield, Joachim Tan, Issac Houlbrooke and Taimana Iversenand Joe Holloway.
Paraparaumu College is an enigma with no New Zealand representation despite convincingly winning the Wellington round robin with seven wins on the trot and a goal difference of 40-6, a staggering 21 goals better than the next best team Wellington College who has consistently placed in the top eight at Rankin Cup for the last four years.
Paraparaumu beat Wellington College 6-1. Wellington College boast Hunter Stent who has amassed over 100 games for his First XI.
Of note, Rosmini and Paraparaumu played one another in the final of Mayhill Cup in 2010, which Rosmini won. That year their centre half was George Muir who made the Black Sticks two years later.
“We are a completely different team from that in April. We have some players in different positions and are playing a different style of hockey. I think were heaps better,” warns captain Tim Neild when talking about the Hamilton Boys’ High School First XI.
Hamilton is unbeaten in 17 games in 2017 and in addition to being the only team to win all their matches at the ANZAC festival of hockey in April won the Super 8 title for the seventh time in Gisborne last week.
The Super 8 tournament is a fine dress rehearsal for Rankin Cup.
“Five games in three days is a heavy workload, but its good preparation for Rankin. Often tournament play is a survival of the fittest,” Neild explains.
Hamilton topped pool play at the Super 8 and had far too much gusto for Gisborne Boys’ High School winning by the staggering scoreline of 19-0. Neild scored three goals, but was quick to commend Gisborne’s spirit.
“We’ve struggled to score goals at times this season and the Gisborne game was one of those games where everything went in. Obviously they weren’t the strongest side, but they never gave up and I respect them for that.”
Napier Boys’ High School proved a far tougher nut to crack, but two goals by Neild secured a 3-1 victory and a place in the semi-finals.
Hastings Boys’ High School had to beat Hamilton to keep their finals prospects alive, but a drab encounter resulted in a scoreless draw.
“That was a boring game. Hastings played well, but we lacked polish and had one eye on the semis,” Neild moans.
Hamilton was switched on for the semi-finals eliminating Palmerston North Boys’ High School 3-1.
“Palmy have been our main rivals over the years. We started slowly, but two goals before halftime settled some nerves. Palmerston North pulled a goal back in the second-half, but I think we always had their measure,” Neild reflects.
For the first time in 13 years New Plymouth Boys’ High School contested the final. Neild, originally from Taranaki, reveals New Plymouth were stubborn opponents.
“We won 4-1, but New Plymouth played with a lot of passion. We got an early 2-0 lead before New Plymouth got some momentum and pulled a goal back via a PC. It was always competitive, but the boys stuck to the task.”
Neild scored a goal in the decider and reinforced his considerable promise which has seen him represent the Junior Black Sticks and both the Midlands U18 and U21 squads.
Neild has been a member of two Rankin Cup winning teams in 2014 and 2015. This year he believes Christ’s College, St. Paul’s Collegiate and Whangarei Boys’ High School are among the biggest threats for the 4-9 September tournament, which is being played at home in Hamilton.
In addition to being First XI skipper, Neild is deputy head prefect and an academic prefect who is achieving at excellence level and hopes to study engineering in 2018.
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