“It was a bit lucky. The ball got loose and Branden Russ managed to get a stick on it and nudge it in,” Tom Nicholls recalls of how the winning goal was scored in the Super 8 hockey final.
The New Plymouth Boys’ High School co-captain might be a touch modest in capturing the gravity of ‘Russty’s’ strike.
In extra time and with each side reduced to nine players, including no goalkeeper, New Plymouth managed a pivotal play which won them the Super 8 title for the first time since the inception of the tournament in 1997.
The Super 8 is one of the leading hockey tourneys in New Zealand. Last year, Palmerston North BHS (3), Hamilton BHS (6) and Tauranga BC (8) were all in the top eight at Rankin Cup Nationals.
Two years ago in Super 8, New Plymouth were seventh and last year won the Mayhill Cup. What is the Mayhill Cup?
“The Mayhill Cup is one of the third tier Nationals,” Nicholls answers.
“Our goal was to win it and we did beating Rotorua Boys’ (another Super 8 side) in the final. We felt we were good enough to be a Rankin Cup side last year. We actually got beaten in the final of Super 8 by Hamilton Boys,” Nicholls expanded.
New Plymouth only lost one player last season and the benefits of retaining a familiar squad were best illustrated on a development tour to Malaysia earlier this year.
Monte Burmester is Nicholls co-captain and explains the background to the trip.
“It was about three years in the making and cost us $3500 each. We did a lot of fundraising like quiz nights, wool shed cleanings and anything we could do really. It was a great way to bond,” Burmester reveals.
New Plymouth played six games in 12 days, in mostly oppressive heat, earning three draws and a victory.
“The standard of hockey was really good. The Malaysians play quiet a fast and skillful game. I learned a lot,” Burmester enthused.
New Plymouth set a high standard in pool play at Super 8 conceding just a solitary goal en-route to the semi-final where Napier BHS awaited.
Napier, boasting Lucca Burley, the tournament’s leading goal scorer with 11 goals presented a tough challenge.
“Napier were a good side, them and Hastings actually as well as Palmerston North. We had to produce our best to beat them both,” Nicholls said.
In the final, New Plymouth seized an early lead, but an even tussle saw Hamilton equalise. The balance and experience of the New Plymouth team ultimately proved telling. Nicholls was recently selected for a New Zealand Under-18 squad while Ryan Gilmour, Graydon Scott and Branden Russ each scored four goals while Michael Spurdle scored three, illustrating the all-round attacking threat of New Plymouth.
New Plymouth is being coached by Jamie Stones, who is the Hockey Development Officer for the school and a PE teacher. Jamie has been at the school for the last four years, after returning from studying at the University of Waikato and working for Sport Waikato. He has been involved in coaching age group Central sides over the last few years. David Stones (Jamie's dad), assists along with Black Stick Ben Collier.
How far can the NPBHS go in the Rankin Cup?
“We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We're just taking things one game at a time,” Burmester warned.
New Plymouth Super 8 Results
Pool Play: Hastings BHS, 2-0
Pool Play: Rotorua BHS, 10-0
Pool Play: Palmerston North BHS, 3-1
Semi-Final: Napier BHS, 4-3
Grand Final: Hamilton BHS, 2-1
“We seemed to play our best hockey when we were put under pressure. Our ability to retaliate was an important part of our success,” Sajan Patel responds when asked what was the single biggest reason why Capital won the National Under-18 hockey tournament in Dunedin last week.
Capital bombed at the same tourney last year and their promising 2018 campaign threatened to derail after a 1-2 loss to Auckland.
“That was a wakeup call for us,” Patel concedes.
“It showed us we weren't invincible and had to stay switched on the whole time,” he said.
Wellington emerged from group play unbeaten. Canterbury was identified as the biggest threat, but it was Southern who proved to be the trickiest challenge.
“Canterbury had a lot of Rankin Cup winners in their team, but they'd lost to Southern twice in the lead up. We were down 3-1 against Southern and managed to tie it up at fulltime which meant the game went to a shootout. I'd never taken a penalty in a competitive game before, but I was happy to step up and score,” Patel reflects.
Wellington prevailed 4-2 in the shootout, before making a hot start against Canterbury netting the first five goals.
“It was pretty special to get up 5-0 against Canterbury. Callum Olsen scored four goals and was pretty much unstoppable from penalty corners,” Patel acclaims.
A Max Darling hat-trick pegged the final scoreline back to 6-4, but the threat of Hutt United’s Olsen was ever constant. In the semi-final against North Harbour, Olsen broke a 1-1 stalemate with two minutes remaining.
Captain Isaac Dyer was another pivotal figure.
“Isaac is not the most talkative guy, but when he says something it counts. He is a real workhorse and before the final against Auckland he gave us a real good prep talk which set the tone,” Patel marvels.
Wellington thrashed Auckland 3-0 in the decider. Olsen scored twice to complete the tourney with ten goals and the tournament MVP award.
Jamal Crawford-Spellacey was also on range in the crushing victory. Patel only scored once against Midlands, but it was on his birthday. The sports captain at Rongotai College is hopeful of keeping his First XI on top of the Wellington table in the third term.
North Harbour, 2-1
The female U18 tournament was won by Central who defeated Canterbury 4-1 in a shootout in the final after scores were tied 2-2 at the end of regulation time.
Anna Crowley was the captain of Central and Olivia Shannon the top scorer with ten.
Central Women scores
Auckland, 2-2 (Central won 3-1 in a shootout)
North Harbour, 3-1
Canterbury, 2-2 (Central won 4-1 in a shootout)
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 email@example.com
“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
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