All roads head north to Whangarei next week where the country’s leading girls hockey schools contest the Federation Cup and Marie Fry Trophy tournament.
But will a southern team win this year’s Premier secondary school tournament?
Last year, Auckland’s St Cuthbert’s College won the Federation Cup, with Christchurch schools finishing second, third and fourth.
St Cuthbert’s appear to be the team to beat after just winning the Auckland Supercity competition for the third straight year.
St Cuthbert’s backed up their feats last year by completing a winning Super City campaign, beating Orewa College 6-0 in the final. By the close of round-robin play they had scored 42 goals and conceded just six in seven matches.
Auckland Diocesan finished second in the round-robin but were beaten by third placed Orewa (fifth in Auckland last year) in their semi-final and then Dio edged Westlake Girls’ High School in a penalty shootout in their 3rd v 4th match.
Orewa College were beaten finalists (to Sacred Heart, Hamilton) in the tier 3 Chica Gilmer Trophy national tournament last year, While third placed Kamo High School also have a berth in this year’s Federation Cup from that tournament.
Dio will be joined in pool B by last year’s fourth placed finisher Villa Maria from Christchurch, Tauranga Girls’ College and Timaru Girls’ College.
King’s College (16th in Federation Cup last year), Saint Kentigern College (21st overall) and Kristin School (22nd) are the other Auckland/North Harbour schools at this year’s tournament in Whangarei.
Five of the top six Christchurch First XIs will be attending this year’s top tier tournament, headed by St Margaret’s College who made it fourth time lucky on Friday night in winning this year’s competition last Friday night.
Beaten Canterbury finalists from each of the past three years, St Margaret’s defeated Christchurch Girls’ High School 2-1 in the decider and go into this year’s Federation Cup as 2017 bronze medallists.
Fourth placed qualifier Christchurch Girls had upset last year’s defending champions Rangi Ruru in their semi-final. Rangi Ruru were unbeaten through 10 round-robin matches and defended the girls Connectics Challenge Shield.
Christchurch Girls’ High School return to the top 32 tournament after being beaten finalists last year by Waikato Diocesan in the bottom 16 Marie Fry section. St Andrew’s College and Villa Maria are the other Christchurch schools at Federation Cup.
Local Hawke’s Bay team Iona College were the highest finishing non Auckland or Canterbury school last year, beating this year’s home school Whangarei Girls’ High School in the fifth v sixth playoff. Iona are joined by Havelock North High School and Napier Girls’ High School. Central won the U18 national tournament in Dunedin in July so expect all three to be pushing hard.
Palmerston North Girls’ High School were seventh last year and fly the flag for the Manawatu schools, while New Plymouth Girls’ High School and Sacred Heart College make the trip north from Taranaki.
In Waikato, Sacred Heart, Hamilton and Tauranga Girls’ College meet in the Girls Division 1 final on Wednesday.
These schools are joined by Waikato Dio, Hamilton GHS and Hillcrest High School from Hamilton and BoP’s Bethlehem and Otumoetai Colleges.
What of the Wellington schools? Their best chance could rest on Masterton’s St Matthews’s Collegiate (10th last year) who retained their regional title on Friday night with a 1-0 win over top qualifier Wellington Girls’ College. Gutsy defence won the day against Wellington Girls’ who will be attempting to win the tier 3 Jenny Hair Cup in Carterton this year.
Queen Margaret College and Wairarapa College are the only other two Wellington competition First XI schools playing in this year’s Federation Cup.
In Dunedin, Columba College head to the far north for the Federation Cup as beaten Otago Secondary Schools finalists, having lost 2-1 to Dunedin rivals St Hilda’s Collegiate in their decider last week. Columba made the Federation Cup top 16 last year.
Pools and teams below:
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