Mitchell Ottow has played a lot of hockey for Westlake Boys’ High School. He has been a part of the First XI since Year 10.
Ottow is a seasoned campaigner. Prior to this season he had contested two previous Rankin Cup finals, both ended in defeat.
In 2012 Westlake stumbled to King’s College. In 2013 they were ripped apart by Hamilton Boys’ High School. Ottow reflects on those disappointments:
“The King’s game could have gone either way. We lost 1-3 and were left to rue some missed chances. Hamilton destroyed us 9-1. They were unbeatable to be honest.”
In 2015, Westlake won the Auckland City title defeating King’s College 3-2 in the final. They won their first three pool games at the Rankin Cup to guarantee a place in the quarter finals. The last pool game against Hastings Boys’ High School proved to be a valuable lesson.
“That was a real struggle,” concedes Ottow.
“We were already in the finals and our approach was too casual. We nearly lost, and might of last year.”
Westlake won 4-3 and was switched on for the quarter and semi finals.
In the final they faced St. Andrew’s College from Christchurch. A South Island school hadn’t won the Rankin Cup since 2010 and STAC proved to be talented and stubborn opponents.
“We weren’t sure what would happen. We picked out a few of their players to target, but it was a real tight game. We both had chances, but lucky for us we took one of ours.”
Ottow admits his experience as a captain helped him keep claim in tense moments.
“I guess my experience is the biggest thing I bring to leadership. I have been in this position before and I was a bit more confident about what to do,” he says.
Westlake scored a solitary goal to win their second Rankin Cup. Their last was in 2008. Ottow describes the goal.
“The goal was scored in the first half. One of our players dribbled the ball baseline and passed it into the circle. Wesley Sleep dived towards it and tapped it on the dive into the goal.”
Sleep is a South African exchange student. He was the team’s leading goal scorer and a First XI cricketer who was due to return to his native country in October, but will stay for December’s Gillette Cup which Westlake qualified for by winning the Auckland competition.
Sleep scored both goals in the tough semi-final win against St. Paul’s Collegiate.
Mitchell was named Westlake’s player of the tournament. He is a member of the Future Black Sticks squad who will compete in the Junior World Cup in India next year. He plans to study engineering at University in 2016.
Goals For: 149
Goals Against: 19
Rankin Cup Results
5-0 versus Rathkeale College
5-1 versus Sacred Heart College (Auckland)
4-3 versus Hastings Boys’ High School
3-0 versus Christ’s College
2-0 versus Wairarapa College (Quarter Final)
2-1 versus St Pauls Collegiate (Semi Final)
1-0 versus St Andrew’s College (Final)
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