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.
From last to first, Canterbury won the National Under-18 men’s hockey tournament in Whangarei during the school holidays and Henry Phelps is at a loss to explain why.
“It was a real wired tournament, everyone beat everyone. Before the final we had only scored three goals which was less than everybody, but we defended well and in the final started to feel it.” Phelps reveals.
Canterbury demolished Central 6-0 in the best of six-team decider. Canterbury led 2-0 at halftime, but only felt home and hosed late in proceedings.
“When we got up 3-0 the confidence and chat really grew. We started to gel.” Phelps enthuses.
Phelps even managed to score two goals.
“For the first goal I was in the right time at the right place. The ball came to me close to the post and I managed to slip it in quickly when they were short of defense. My second goal was from a PC when their keeper was off. They had four defenders in goal so I figured if a shot high, I wasn’t missing.” Phelps recalls.
Canterbury’s other goals were scored by Tim Schulpin (2), Will Mace-Cochrane and Moss Jackson.
Phelps is originally from the Wairarapa where he was a rep player from age 11. He shifted to Christ’s College two years ago and helped his school win the Canterbury title in 2016. Christ’s are again leaders in the local competition, but Phelps warns against complacency given the fickle nature of tournament play.
“We’ve got a real together team, but at last year’s Nationals Canterbury was last when we could have easily been top four. Similarly at Rankin we led St. Paul’s Collegiate who won it 3-2, but lost 5-4 and finished eighth. It comes down to the best team on the day.” Phelps explains.
Phelps says Christ’s goal is to defend their local crown and make top eight at Rankin Cup.
In addition to hockey Phelps is a keen musician. He plays guitar, drums and trombone. Recently his five-piece band Run 77 won the Christchurch addition of Rockquest. Phelps explains the name and the implications of rocking Canterbury.
“There is a sandwich shop in Tekapo called Run 76 so we just copied them and added one. Our prize for winning was $500 spending money at the Rockshop and 15 minutes recording time at Orange Studios. Our video is submitted to the National judges in Auckland and we find out later in the week if we are invited to the National Rockquest finals.”
On Saturday Auckland Grammar School hosts King’s College in the much hyped Cooper-Greenbank First XV rugby fixture.
Jack Seton will be part of the 500 strong ‘Augusta Army’ cheering on the Grammar boys. The Year 13 led group spend lunchtime practicing chants for the big game and are hoping their chorus of support can inspire a similar outcome to that of the Birchall Shield hockey final recently.
Auckland Grammar School won the Auckland hockey championship for the third year in a row defeating King’s College on their turf 1-0. David Bates scored the winning goal. Two years ago against the same opposition, and at the same venue, his older brother Johnny Bates scored the winner. Seton, who plays in goal, captures the drama of Bates’ winning strike.
“There wasn’t long left and we won the ball in defence. We advanced it forward and got the ball into the circle. The ball pinged around a few times in between sticks and then fell for David who blasted it into goal.”
It’s a sweet feeling beating King’s in any code.” Seton continued.
Hockey might not generate the same fanfare as rugby, but it’s a well-supported code with home games well attended and a history of 23 Rankin Cup titles to be proud of. Last year Grammar was on target to perhaps add to that tally, but came unstuck in controversial fashion in the first round of elimination.
“We played Wairarapa College and were ahead 3-1. We had a couple of calls that went against us and had two players carded. Wairarapa levelled to send the game into extra time and then won it. We won every game except that one, it really hurt.” Seton laments.
Grammar had 21 players carded in seven games. Maintaining composure under pressure has been a big area of focus in 2017.
“We lost our cool a lot last year. We need to control our emotions better when calls go against us.” Seton believes.
When focused, Grammar was hard to topple. In the Super City competition featuring the top four Auckland and North Shore schools, Grammar beat Kristin College 6-1 in the final last year to capture the crown. In their first meeting in 2017, Grammar emulated that score.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but we have a pretty good team and have started well.” Seton cautious.
Seton has been a rep level player since the age of 10. He began in the field, but was forced to retreat into goal to make one side and laughs, “once you’ve played in goal, there is no going back.”
Seton has won three Auckland titles with Grammar and has became a sturdy shot stopper much like his father John Seton who was a Black Stick goalie.
In 2018 Jack intends to study law and commerce at Victoria University in Wellington.
There was a seismic shift in the balance of power of Hamilton hockey last year. St. Paul's Collegiate were the Rankin Cup champions while Hamilton Boys' High School, winners the last two years previously, finished in 13th place.
Hamilton player Brad Coxon attempts to explain what changed.
"We lost a lot of key players and struggled to recover from that. Last year was a rebuilding year, but we didn't perform as well as we would have liked. We learned a lot though and will be better for it."
At the recent ANZAC hockey festival at St. Paul's Collegiate there was already evidence Hamilton is better for their 2016 adversity. Of the 14 teams that competed in the pre-season tourney, Hamilton was the only side to win all five games.
Three of the four Rankin Cup semi-finalists were present, including runners up Wairarapa College who Hamilton beat 4-1 in their opening game.
Coxon broke a stalemate ten minutes into the second-half and added another goal in the resounding triumph.
"They didn't seem as organised as the Auckland teams. Their attack was a lot more instinctive and when we pressured them we got on top with some good hockey." Coxon says.
Hamilton thumped King's College 5-0, but St. Kentigern College proved to be a tough Auckland opponent.
"We started real slow and fell behind a goal. It was a close game, but we came back late and won 2-1. Matt Deller and Cameron Steffot got the goals. St. Kent's were a structured team, they will be tough to beat." Coxon believes.
Wellington College is another side Coxon has earmarked for greater things.
"We beat Wellington 2-0, but they have only lost one player from last year and were quite tough. I expect they will be even better by the end of the season."
Coxon is in his second year in the First XI. He plays either inner or centre midfield.
He is been mentored by Hamilton coaches Steve Smith and Richard Petherick, who played 98 tests for the Black Sticks.
In the summer Coxon plays premier tennis.
Turf laying, marathon marshalling and after school jobs are just some of the ways members of the Westlake Boys’ High School First XI hockey team fundraised for their recent European tour.
The epic nine-game trip has climaxed with Westlake visiting the Netherlands, Belgium and France in addition to assembling a strong squad for the 2017 domestic season.
Westlake split their teams into Under-18 and 16 groups and Netesh Sukha was the captain of the former team.
“The style of hockey was very different in Europe. The Dutch teams like to hold on to possession and build patiently rather than being assertive and going forward straight away like we do in New Zealand.” Sukha reveals.
Greater caution might have helped Westlake in the WFHC tournament featuring teams from South Africa, Holland, Australia and England.
“We only won one game, but had three draws and three losses, the biggest of which was only 1-3. The English team won the tournament, but we did beat the Aussies.” Sukha recalls.
In addition to the WFHC tourney Westlake played two Dutch teams in Rotterdam and beat Hellevoetsluis 3-2.
“We learned a lot about the style of hockey we want to play. The younger guys developed a lot and it was really competitive.” Sukha acclaims.
Sukha identifies Year 11 Sam Shotter in defence, goal keeper Callum Grassick and attacker Charl Ullrich as players to watch for Westlake this season.
Sukha himself plays in the midfield and is a North Harbour A Under-18 rep. He was a member of the Westlake team that won the Rankin Cup in 2015.
Sukha is weary of Rosmini College, Auckland Grammar School and St. Kentigern College, hinting they will have strong teams in 2017.
“There are a lot of good teams, but I am really excited about this group. The culture is great and the talent is deep.” Sukha enthuses.
Learning about the sacrifice of war and foreign cultures was another benefit of the tour.
On ANZAC day an early start in France was followed by a border crossing for a Dawn Service at Buttes new British Cemetary, Zonnebeke. A short bus ride to Ypres was then taken for a wreath laying service at Menin Gate before a final service at the New Zealand memorial in Messines.
“It was a huge experience for us to see just how big the war was and understand the horrible suffering that happened. Seeing European hockey in front of huge, loud crowds was the opposite experience. It’s given all the boys something to aspire to.” Sukha concludes.
The hockey season will be in full swing at St. Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton next week when the defending Rankin Cup champions host the ANZAC festival of hockey.
Featuring 14 of New Zealand’s leading hockey schools, the tourney is strictly pre-season and features five games for each side over the course of three days with many of the teams not likely to face each other during the course of their respective competitive seasons.
The tournament features a replay of the Rankin Cup final between St. Paul’s Collegiate and Wairarapa College and also boasts St. Andrew’s College, a top four Rankin side, Wellington Champions, Wellington College, Auckland Champions Westlake BHS and India Cup Champions, Palmerston North BHS.
The draw is listed below.
8:00-8:55am: King’s College v Tauranga Boys’ College
9:00-9:55am: Hamilton BHS v Wairarapa College
10:00-10:55am: Napier BHS v St. Paul’s Collegiate
11:00-11:55am: Hastings BHS v St. Andrew’s College
12:00-12:55pm: Palmerston BHS v St. Kentigern College
1:00-1:55pm: New Plymouth BHS v Wellington College
2:00-2:55pm: Tauranga BC v Whangarei BHS
3:00-3:55pm: King’s College v Hamilton BHS
4:00-4:55pm: St. Paul’s Collegiate v Wairarapa College
5:00-5:55pm: Napier BHS v St. Andrew’s College
6:00-6:55pm: St. Kentigern College v Hastings BHS
7:00-7:55pm: Whangarei BHS v Wellington College
8:00-8:55pm: Palmerston North BHS v New Plymouth BHS
Day Two – Wednesday April 27
8:00-8:55pm: St. Kentigern College v Hamilton BHS
9:00-9:55pm: Hastings BHS v Whangarei BHS
10:00-1055pm: Tauranga Boys’ College v St. Andrew’s College
11:00-11:55pm: St. Paul’s Collegiate v Palmerston North BHS
12:00-12:55pm: New Plymouth BHS v King’s College
1:00-1:55pm: Napier BHS v Wairarapa College
2:00-2:55pm: Hamilton BHS v Wellington College
3:00-3:55pm: Hastings BHS v Tauranga BC
4:00-4:55pm: St. Kentigern College v Wairarapa College
5:00-5:55pm: King’s College v St. Paul’s Collegiate
6:00-6:55pm: St. Andrew’s College v New Plymouth BHS
7:00-7:55pm: Wairarapa College v Palmerston North BHS
8:00-8:55pm: Napier BHS v Wellington College
Day Three: April 28
8:00-8:55am: St. Paul’s Collegiate v St. Andrew’s College
9:00-9:55am: Hastings BHS v King’s College
10:00-10:55am: Whangarei BHS v Palmerston North BHS
11:00-11:55am: Wairarapa College v New Plymouth BHS
12:00-12:55pm: Hamilton BHS v Napier BHS
1:00-1:55pm: Tauranga BC v Wellington College
2:00-2:55pm: St. Paul’s Collegiate v St. Kentigern College
“I used to take my athletics pretty seriously, but hockey has taken over. It’s pretty much a year round sport now.” Malachi Buschl says.
The head prefect at King’s High School in Dunedin is a New Zealand Under-19 representative and 2017 is a busy year.
“I was named in the New Zealand squad to take on Pakistan in April. I am really looking forward to that series,” Buschl enthuses.
Buschl was first selected for New Zealand in late 2015 and in January 2016 toured Australia to compete in a quadrangular series.
“That was a lot of fun to experience hockey at a higher level than I had before. The results didn’t go as well as we wanted, but I learned a lot from that tour.” Buschl reflects.
The valuable lessons attained across the Tasman carried into King’s 2016 season. Buschl was a key ingredient in the schools’ most successful year ever. King’s was unbeaten in the local competition and finished seventh at the Rankin Cup. Buschl’s ability to distribute accurately, defend resolutely and led from centre mid field was vital.
“We had no real stars in our team last year, but everybody worked hard and bonded. We were a class above the local competition and perhaps needed harder challenges throughout the year to maintain our edge.” Buschl recalls.
King’s was unbeaten in their group games at the Rankin Cup. They beat Rathkeale College (6-0), Timaru BHS (6-2), St. Kentigern College 2-0 and held 2015 championships Westlake BHS to a 1-1 draw. In the quarter-final, King’s was toppled 2-0 by Rangitoto College.
“A top eight finish was good for us, but we would like to have made the top four. I guess there is a bit of a vendetta for us this year.” Buschl says.
Buschl believes King’s best performance in 2016 was the 6-0 demolition of Christchurch BHS in the playoff for seventh.
“We played a real high standard of hockey in that game. I don’t think were as strong as last year, but if we really apply ourselves I think we can improve quickly and surprise ourselves.” Buschl insists.
King’s have nine returning players, but many of the 2016 starters have departed. However a strong work ethic and the ability to surprise has been a regular theme in Buschl’s sporting life. He started playing hockey in Year 7 when he filled in for his sister’s team. He discovered an instant enjoyment for the sport and quickly made rep sides which only further fuelled the fire. He says his greatest experience so far was finishing third with the Southern team at the 2016 National Under-21 tournament.
“The National Under-21 tournament was a really enjoyable experience. The team had a great culture with a great bunch of southern blokes. We were last the year before to so the results were a huge improvement for us.”
In addition to hockey Buschl is a keen geography student. He is a reserve for the New Zealand International Geography Olympiad team who will travel to Belgrade to compete in the International Geography Olympiad. Buschl wrote an outstanding essay about Serbia to become a contender for that trip.
It’s clear Buschl is a good southern lad going places.
The New Zealand Under 21 Men have opened with a 1-0 victory over Japan at the Junior World Cup in Lucknow.
It was a tight encounter which saw both sides create plenty of scoring opportunities, with Ollie Logan delivering the game winner with a 55th minute penalty corner drag flick.
Kiwi goalkeeper Thomas Mallon had an outstanding game and alongside his back four, kept a clean sheet under huge pressure from Japan who had nine penalty corners but were stopped every time.
The result sees New Zealand take away three points with two games to play in the pool phase with only the top two moving through to the quarter finals.
Man of the Match Logan said it was pleasing to open the tournament with a win.
“It’s great to come away with maximum points from our opening game. We came in with a lot of information on Japan, we knew what we needed to do and came away with a result which is great for us.
“We’ve got some very good flickers in the team so to be able to play my part and put one into the net was a really good feeling.”
The New Zealand Under 21s are back in action in their second game at the Junior World Cup when they take on Germany on Saturday at 1:30am (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport.
NEW ZEALAND 1: (Ollie Logan)
It's been a big year for New Zealand's up and coming hockey players, with some high quality action at the NZSS Secondary School and age-grade representative tournaments throughout New Zealand. Five players that have impressed College Sport Media are below:
Reuben Andrews (St. Paul's Collegiate) - St. Paul's Collegiate won the Rankin Cup for the first time and in the final against Wairarapa College Andrews was a hero. Down 3-2, Andrews had to score with the last penalty corner and duly delivered to extend the game. Andrews scored a leading 15 goals at the Rankin Cup to finish the season with 66 goals in 29 games. He played 144 games for St. Paul's Collegiate First XI and scored 138 goals. He has been a National age group representative and impressed with his inspirational leadership.
Maddie Wotton (Villa Maria) - The Villa Maria First XI won the Federation Cup for the first time this year and Wotton was an integral part of the success. She scored 10 goals at the Nationals and her all-around excellence drove her teammates to further excellence. Wotton is in the New Zealand system and regularly appears for the Canterbury U18 and U21 sides. She also scored four goals for her senior club side Marist in a 7-3 victory over Southern United, a performance that caught the attention of the Christchurch Press.
Gus Wakeling (Wairarapa College) - The Junior Black Sticks midfielder was an outstanding leader for Wairarapa College guiding his team to the Rankin Cup final where they were beaten 4-3 in extra time by St. Paul's Collegiate. Wakeling boasts an-all round game regularly scoring goals and creating several with his superior running and passing. He is also a resolute defender.
Hattie Jones (Kristin School) - The youngest member of the NZ Junior team, Jones at the age of 17 is one of the most accomplished age group defenders in the country. Jones’ outstanding play saw her nominated for an Auckland Secondary Schools sports award. Jones regularly competes above her age and was a regular starter for North Harbour who finished second in the National Hockey League.
Bella Greig - The Iona College first XI went undefeated at the Hockey NZ Chica Gilmer national tournament in Pukekohe in 2015 to be promoted to the national first division. Greig was the leading goal scorer, putting 10 in the back of the net at that tourney. This year Greig proved she belonged in the top flight by scoring a tournament leading 17 goals at the Federation Cup. The 15-year-old accounted for over half of her team's goals and the next leading scorer netted 11. Greig is a regular in the Hawke’s Bay reps and may soon push for National honours.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand