Marlborough’s hockey women continued their top of the south dominance this season, retaining both the Pope Shield and Gladstone Cup in Westport at the weekend.
The Marlborough A team faced an abbreviated two-match schedule, with Buller fielding only a B team.
They played West Coast on Saturday and dominated almost throughout, coming away with a conclusive 4-1 victory.
Two goals to defender Tanya Hawley, both from penalty corners, got the scoring underway before striker Pip Lunn made it 3-0 heading into halftime.
Midfielder Alice Roughan was rewarded for resolute backing up when she bagged Marlborough’s fourth halfway through the second spell, before the Coasters managed a late consolation.
With Nelson beating West Coast 6-1, Marlborough knew a draw against their arch-rivals would not be enough to retain the Pope Shield.
They met at midday Sunday in what became a virtual final and a battle royal.
The game was scoreless until the final quarter, Marlborough goalie Carly Englefield and her Nelson opposite, Jackie Day, both making several key saves to turn away scoring chances.
The decisive goal came from outstanding Marlborough striker Celia Watson who latched onto a rebound from the keeper, scoring with a reverse flick.
As expected, Nelson finished strongly in search of an equalizer but Marlborough’s defensive back line of Hawley, Englefield, Sara Stocker and Sylvie Heard held firm.
Coach Denise Lloyd was thrilled to retain the silverware and praised the whole team effort, but particularly the younger brigade, suggesting the likes of Roughan, Ella Williams, Mackenzie Hanrahan and debutante Ruby Smith were now stepping up to become “a big part of the whole equation”.
The Marlborough A team: Celia Watson, Alice Roughan, Pip Lunn, Abby Scott, Jo Jones, Ella Williams, Sara Stocker, Sylvie Heard, Mackenzie Hanrahan, Kate Morrow, Tanya Hawley, Carly Englefield, Ruby Smith, Yvonne Boyd, Sjaan Greig. Coaches: Denise Lloyd and Andrew McCaa.
Hawley, Lunn, Boyd, Smith, Roughan and Jones were included in the tournament team.
The Marlborough B women opened their campaign against Buller early on Saturday and prevailed 4-1.
After early pressure Marlborough slowly gained dominance and finally got on the board through Jules Maltensen late in the second quarter. In the second half Tash Veltman converted a penalty corner to double Marlborough’s advantage, then Lulu Judge added a third before Buller scored a consolation. However, Marlborough lifted again with Maltensen adding her second for the game.
Later on Saturday they scored a 6-2 win over West Coast. Again a slow start cost the team an early goal but by the end of the first quarter Marlborough had regained control to lead 2-1 with goals to Tania Hix off a PC and a field goal to Abby Marks. Jess Wilson and a second for Hix extended their lead before halftime then Claudia Clark made it five from a PC. The final quarter was relatively even, Coast picking up their second goal before young Eleri James-Sitters grabbed her first senior rep goal.
The side’s final game, against Nelson on Sunday morning, was a tight affair, ending 2-2.
Marlborough had the better of first quarter with Hix again scoring from a PC but Nelson fought back and had levelled the score before halftime. In the third quarter Nelson lifted again, adding a second to lead heading into the final period. After a few stern words at the final break Marlborough produced their best quarter of the weekend, regaining dominance and forcing a penalty stroke with 7min remaining, captain Clark calmly slotting the goal to give her team the draw they required to retain the trophy.
Veltman, whose workload was outstanding, gained selection in the tournament team alongside Clark, Maltensen, Judge and Maddison Horton.
The Marlborough men’s team were also in action. Their campaign began badly, a slow start seeing losing 4-1 to Nelson first up on Friday, followed by a 7-1 reversal against West Coast later on the same day.
Their final game was against Buller and they managed a 4-3 win to avoid the wooden spoon.
Hamish Watson scored against Nelson, Andrew Nation netted against West Coast while Grant McMillan and Liam Geddes hit the target against the home side.