The Tasman Tigers celebrate the region's first national title. Photo: Supplied.

Tigers earn their stripes in Tauranga

The Tasman Tigers overcame a two-goal deficit and a parochial home crowd to claim their first national hockey title in Tauranga on Saturday.

At the New Zealand Association Tournament, they downed home side Tauranga/Bay of Plenty 4-2 in a see-sawing decider to bring the coveted Floyd Shield to the top of the south for the first time.

In recent years they have threatened to get their hands on the silverware, including an agonising shoot-out loss in last year’s final.

But they made no mistake this time, going through the tournament unbeaten, adding a pool play win over their final opponents to their victory in the ultimate match.

However, the final did not start as planned for the women from the top of the south, two green cards in the first quarter putting them on the back foot, along with an early goal from a penalty corner to Tauranga/BOP’s Taryn Moore.

Four minutes into the second quarter it got worse, Stacey MacDonald scoring the home side’s second, her side buoyed along by the vocal home supporters.

Pip Lunn, left, and Kate Morrow get their hands on the Floyd Shield. Photo: Supplied.
Pip Lunn, left, and Kate Morrow get their hands on the Floyd Shield. Photo: Supplied.

But there is plenty of fight in this Tigers side and they were soon on level terms, Mackenzie Hanrahan nailing their first after 26 minutes, then Pip Lunn slotting the equalizer three minutes later to lock it up at halftime.

Play went form end-to-end in the third quarter with no addition to the score, the game finely balanced.

The go-ahead goal came two minutes into the final period, scored by skipper Stacey Lloyd from a penalty corner, then Kate Morrow iced Tasman’s cake and gave them some breathing space with their fourth seven minutes later.

Lunn was Tasman’s top scorer over the course of the tournament with five goals, Jess Davidson and Hannah Mowat both notched four, Morrow scored three while Tanya Hawley and Alice Roughan bagged two apiece.

In pool play they beat Tasmania 5-3, Otago 4-0, Counties Manukau 4-1 then overcame Tauranga/BOP 2-0 in a penalty shoot-out after the scores were tied 2-2 after regulation time.

Having topped their group by a point from their hosts, they were drawn against North Harbour in the semifinals, prevailing 4-1, setting up a final date with the hosts.

Tasman manager Denise Lloyd described the winning feeling as one of relief, especially after Tasman had previously picked up two silvers and two bronzes in their quest for an elusive first national title, eight years after the amalgamated team was established.

“It was awesome, the girls were absolutely stoked,” said Lloyd, “the semifinal and final were both brilliant games of hockey.

“When you lose a final the way we did last year it gives you the hunger to win one, that’s for sure. They had to dig deep to claw back into the final.

“It was a brilliant week – the girls believed in the process and went with Jonesy’s coaching and stuck to the game plan – most of the time.”

Crucial to the side’s success was the “tight four in the engine room”, the experienced quartet of Hawley, Lloyd, Lunn and Hannah Climo, plus calm goalkeeper Carly Englefield, who excelled at shoot-out time.

The Tasman side comprised: Tanya Hawley, Stacey Lloyd, Pip Lunn, Mackenzie Hanrahan, Carly Englefield, Grace Davies, Ella Williams, Kate Morrow, Celia Watson, Alice Roughan, Hannah Climo, Yvonne Boyd, Alisha Lewis, Aimee Kersten, Jessica Davidson, Hannah Mowat, Samara Dalziel, Kate Kersten. Coach: Paul Jones. Manager: Denise Lloyd.

Meanwhile, the Canterbury Beavers secured their sixth national men’s association title with a 3-1 win North Harbour.

The Tasman men, who also played in Tauranga, had a tougher time of it, ending up in an unlucky ninth position, despite losing only one match during the tournament.

A first-up 2-1 loss to South Canterbury did the damage. They then beat Counties Manukau 6-0 and overcame Otago 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the scores were level 2-2 at full time.

Unfortunately, with less points awarded for shoot-out wins, they ended up third in their highly-competitive group, relegating them to the bottom section of the play-offs draw.

From there they registered three straight wins to finish on top of the lower section. They beat Taranaki 4-2, Southland 3-1 and NZ Defence Force 4-1.

Jesse Forsyth with eight field goals was their top scorer and finished equal top of the tournament standings. Pat O’Connor-Lea bagging four.

Aimee Kersten shows her ball control during Saturday’s match. Photo: Peter Jones.

Tasman get valuable warm-up

Canterbury representative hockey sides dominated the majority of the weekend’s doubleheader matches against their Tasman rivals at College Park.

The matches were played in preparation for the national tournament in Tauranga later this month.

On Saturday the Canterbury Barracoutas, their women’s side, beat Tasman Tigers 4-1, while the Canterbury Beavers men’s outfit outclassed Tasman Boars 9-1.

The Tasman women rebounded on Sunday however, scoring a resounding 6-0 victory, while the Boars showed more cohesion and grit in their second encounter to hold Canterbury to 4-3.

On Saturday, the Tasman women were caught out by the speed of play. When they created defensive turnovers and attempted to run the ball out they too often turned over possession.

Down 2-0 at halftime Tasman pulled a goal back through Hannah Mowat but conceded two more in the final 15 minutes.

Sunday’s game was a different story from the outset, with the home side ahead 2-0 by the end of the first quarter. Tasman were rewarded by a great drive through centre field from Kate Kersten who passed off to Ruby Smith to finish. Their second goal came moments later, Pip Lunn netting after another great drive into the circle.

The Tigers were hungrier for the 50/50 ball and worked hard on defence, putting the Canterbury attack under constant pressure.

After a scoreless second quarter, Tasman lifted again goals to Lunn and Aimee Kersten soon made it 4-0. In the final stanza Lunn completed her hat-trick while Kate Morrow was rewarded for a good display with the final goal

Coach Paul Jones was happy with the turnaround from Saturday to Sunday when he asked for a better performance.

“Now the girls have a benchmark to start at. Everyone is excited and looking forward to tournament in a few weeks,” he said.

Grace Calder, from the Arotea Kiwi women’s side, dribbles the ball to the back line during her side’s play-off match with Emcee on Saturday morning. Photo: Peter Jones.

Student sides dominate club hockey finals

College park lived up to its name on Saturday when the club hockey finals were contested on the turf.

In a memorable occasion, both senior club titles were claimed by college teams.

The two title deciders were tightly-fought, being settled late in the piece.

Marlborough Girls’ College took out the women’s title, beating Beawai in a thriller. The students prevailed 1-0, scoring the deciding goal in the last minute of play.

In the men’s final, Marlborough Boys’ College scored the winning (golden) goal four minutes into the first round of drop-offs after the scores were level 1-1 at the end of regulation time. MBC scored first, netting following a penalty corner 10 minutes before the end of normal time, then Arotea Muppets forced a PC right on full time, from which they scored to send the game into extra minutes.

The first game of the day was between Emcee and Arotea Kiwi, for third and fourth position in the women’s grade. After another close encounter, the scores were locked 1-1 when the final whistle sounded meaning they share the spoils. Robyn Rowe scored for Emcee, Yvonne Boyd for Arotea Kiwi through a penalty stroke.

The next match featured Go Girls and Masters, who were battling for fifth and sixth position in the men’s grade. It was the girls who took the honours, prevailing 6-2 in a match that began tightly but opened up as the women asserted control.

The men’s grade battle for third and fourth, featuring the losing semfinalists from Friday evening, saw Arotea Kiwi men beat their Beawai counterparts 7-1.

The victorious college teams were:

MGC: Mya Gane GK, Maddie Horton, Lulu Judge, Nikita Gapper, Alice Roughan, Charlotte Westend, Teresa Campbell, Sam Williams, Ella Williams, Georgia Green, Isabella Boon, Bryher Jager, Hannah Chapman, Eleanor O’Connell.

MBC: Patrick Neal, Leighton Le Sueur, Hunter Davies, Kris Godsall, Hugh Pearce, Nick Williams, Joe Westend, Lachlan Mackie, Sean Moran, Gus Varney, George Varney, Declan Phibbs, Logan Lowther, Wade Sweeting, Sam Hamilton, Jack Unwin.

The Marlborough women’s A team. Photo: Supplied.

Hockey women grab silverware

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 women’s B team. Photo: Supplied.
The Marlborough women’s B team. Photo: Supplied.

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.

Jo Jones was a standout for the Marlborough women’s A team. Photo supplied.

Hockey sides finish on top

Meatloaf famously sang, “two out of three ain’t bad”, and that was the good news for the local hockey fraternity when rep teams from Marlborough and Nelson met in Blenheim recently.

The women’s A team retained the Ken Beech Cup with a 5-1 victory while the women’s B team claimed the Wyn Robinson Cup with a 5-0 scoreline.

The Marlborough men lost 3-2 in a see-sawing encounter for the McCarthy Cup.

In the women’s A game, Marlborough started slowly but got on the scoreboard towards the end of the first quarter when Tanya Hawley scored through a direct shot after a penalty corner. Goalkeeper Grace Davies played a crucial role in this quarter, pulling off several important saves.

In the second quarter Marlborough moved the ball better and creating some great attacking chances, Emma Allison scoring their second after another PC.

The home side began the third quarter in similar fashion, passing the ball well from the back through to their speedy strikers and were rewarded when Mackenzie Hanrahan put the final pass into goal for their third.

Nelson replied with a goal late in the quarter, but Marlborough had the final say, Ruby Smith being rewarded on debut with a goal, then Hanrahan bagging her second after assistance from Pip Lunn to wrap up a convincing victory.

Player of the match was Jo Jones.

Coaches Denise Lloyd and Andrew McCaa were pleased with the rep side’s first hit-out and look forward to their next fixture, the Pope Shield at the end of the month in Westport.

Marlborough women’s A team: Abby Scott (captain), Pip Lunn, Tanya Hawley, Jo Jones, Sara Stocker, Celia Watson, Sylvie Heard, Emma Allison, MacKenzie Hanrahan, Alice Roughan, Kate Morrow, Ella Williams, Grace Davies, Ruby Smith and Siaan Grieg.

The men’s game, also their first hit-out of the season, was “played by both teams at pace and with more intensity than structure” according to coach Paul Jones.

Marlborough found themselves 1-0 up at quarter time and 2-0 at halftime, Liam Geddes and Aiden Neal having converted the opportunities they created off two penalty corners.

This was a big turnaround from recent seasons when Marlborough often ended up chasing the game, noted Jones.

Nelson pulled back a goal in the third quarter as they lifted their game and the home side began to neglect their marking duties.

Marlborough kept attacking but turnovers up front and in midfield meant they were left defending for most of the final quarter. Under most pressure was Marlborough keeper Travis Brydon, named player of the match, and his fellow defenders who spent most of the final stanza repelling penalty corners.

Eventually the pressure told as Nelson landed two late goals to take the honours.

Both teams used this game as a build up for the annual Matai Cup in Buller later in the season with some key players to be added to both teams for the upcoming tournament.

Nelson’s goal scorers were Pat O’Connor-Lea (2) and Toby Bowden.

Eli Lambert, left, from Ward School, and Harley Sangster, from Fairhall, race after the ball during the Festival of Hockey. Photo: Peter Jones.

Festival of hockey

College Park resembled a frantic hockey playground on Tuesday and Wednesday when Hockey Marlborough staged their annual Festival of Hockey.

Pupils from 14 Marlborough primary schools gathered at the hockey turf across both days to test their skills, some playing the game for the first time.

On Wednesday, around 300 children from nine schools were split into year 3-4, year 5-6 and year 7-8 grades, the turf was divided into three fields, and a series of friendly games was played from 9.30am until around 2pm.

The Renwick Year 3-4 team, from left, Jemima Nation, Tehya Wallace, Jackson Boon, Mya Benseman, Harry Stocker and Poppy Stocker. Photo: Peter Jones.

On Tuesday, around 140 kids were involved from five other schools.

George Nation, from Hockey Marlborough, said the Festival had been a big success.

“It was awesome. I even heard that some of the kids at basketball on Wednesday night were saying how much fun they had had and that they wanted to play hockey next year. It gave heaps of kids that don’t normally play a chance to have a run around.”

The Festival is part of the Small Sticks in Schools programme, which encourages children to have a go at hockey, and is expected to be run again in 2020.

Numbers are well up across the junior hockey competitions this season, with a couple of extra teams slotting into each grade.

The victorious Marlborough team. Photo: supplied.

Hockey lads get job done in Westport

The Marlborough under-18 boys hockey team broke a 23-year drought when they brought home the Stirling Memorial Cup from Westport last weekend.

The much sought-after trophy is contested annually by U18 boys sides from West Coast, Buller, Nelson and Marlborough, and this year it was finally Marlborough’s turn to grab the silverware.

Firstly, they played West Coast on Saturday morning and after a frustrating first quarter, where they applied plenty of pressure but didn’t get the results, they came away with a 10-0 win. West Coast were outclassed skill wise and everything the strikers touched turned to gold, according to coach Grant McMillan.

Marlborough met Buller on Saturday afternoon and it followed a similar pattern, with early pressure not being rewarded. But once again the flood gates opened in the last three quarters with a strong midfield effort making life easy for the strikers. Marlborough won 9-1 with strong performances from Sean Moran and Leighton Le Sueur.

This meant that the tournament came down to the game between the unbeaten sides, Nelson and Marlborough.

Marlborough started well in the decider with two quick goals in the first quarter and managed to hold that score until half time.

However Nelson lifted for the third quarter, bagging two goals of their own to make for a tense final quarter.

Both sides had opportunities that weren’t converted and with seven minutes to go Nelson substituted their keeper, knowing that only a win would suffice as Marlborough had a better goal difference overall.

Marlborough managed to hold their nerve and it was a 2-2 draw at full time. Strong performances in defence from Hunter Davies and Lachlan Mackie were crucial in the last quarter as Marlborough claimed tournament victory due to their superior scoring statistics.

Marlborough U18 squad: Declan Phibbs, Lachlan Mackie, Hugh Pearce, Nick Williams, Leighton le Sueur, Kris Godsall, Patrick Neal, Ollie Jarvis, Sean Moran, Joseph Westend, Hunter Davies, George Varney, Wade Sweeting, Gus Varney, Sam Hamilton. Coach Grant McMillan.

Hockey teams on top of the south

Marlborough teams dominated the recent Top of the South club hockey tournament staged in Nelson.

Arotea Kiwi took out the women’s title while a combined Arotea Kiwi/Beawai men’s side won the men’s crown.

The women played three 30-minute games on Saturday. First up they met Buller and came away with a commanding 6-0 victory, Pip Lunn scoring a hat-trick while Amy Devlin, Mackenzie Hanrahan and Alissa Holdaway-Marks also found the net.

Their next game, against Tasman, was much tighter, Kiwi emerging with a 2-1 win, their goals coming from Holdaway-Marks and Grace Davies.

A 1-0 loss to a strong Federal team followed, putting Arotea Kiwi into a semi-final play-off with fellow Marlborough side Beawai the following morning.

Goals to Alice Roughan, Lunn, Hanrahan and Kate Morrow saw them to a 4-0 win and booked them a place in the final, setting up a re-match with Federal.

In a closely-fought decider, the “A team” of Alice Roughan, Amy Devlin and Abby Scott all found the back of the net to see Arotea Kiwi to a 3-2 win.

Meanwhile, the men’s side battled past seven other sides to claim the top of the south shield.

In a tough group they came back from a hard-fought 2-1 loss in their opening pool game against Tasman, their only goal coming from Rory Crawford at a penalty corner, to remain undefeated for the rest of the weekend.

They drew 0-0 against United NC and won their final pool game 2-1 over Greymouth with goals from Crawford and Heath Dickson.

In the semis they took on Seddonville and won 3-2. Marlborough took an early lead through a quick counter attack with Dickson setting up the play for Sam Solly to deflect past the goal keeper. Dickson turned from provider to scorer for their second, netting with a strong reverse stick shot. Seddonville scored shortly before half time, then Dickson got his second of the game to restore a two-goal advantage. However it was anything but an easy ride to the finish with Seddonville applying the pressure through to the end and grabbing a late consolation as keeper Dave Farley kept the opposition strikers at bay.

The final brought a new challenge after the experienced Nelson-based Federal side saw off the stiff competition of Tasman in their semi-final.

The Blenheim side struck first in the decider, a quick counter attack by Liam Geddes setting up Jarrod Harvie who calmly slotted the ball home to bag his first goal since coming back into the sport.

Federal hit back immediately from the re-start to level the scores at halftime.

The winning goal came with three minutes of the match remaining, a poor stick challenge earning Arotea Kiwi/Beawai a penalty corner, which Crawford converted through a drag flick.

Their defence, led by keeper Farley, held strong for the remaining few minutes to complete a notable double for Marlborough hockey.

Arotea Kiwi women: Pip Lunn, Kate Morrow, Abby Scott, Grace Davies, Alice Roughan, Ella Williams, Natasha Veltman, Jo Jones, Emma Burrell, MacKenzie Hanrahan, Grace Calder, Alissa Holdaway-Marks, Amy Devlin, Celia Watson.

 

Arotea Kiwi/Beawai men: Dave Farley, Rory Crawford, Grant McMillan, Sam Solly, Reuben Molnar, Corey Fransen, Jarrod Harvie,

Liam Geddes, Reuben Kepes, Michael Hix, Malcolm King, Lindsay Muir, Heath Dickson, Joshua Valley.

Hockey season hits off with entertaining match-up

The 2019 Marlborough hockey season is officially underway.

The season opening was marked by an entertaining match at College Park on Sunday, involving a Marlborough Invitation team against a Tiger Turf combination.

Both sides contained many top-class performers, including current Blacks Sticks George Muir, David Brydon and Deanna Ritchie. Local sporting identities Megan Craig and Ti’i Paulo also tried their hand.

After four free-flowing quarters the Marlborough team came out on top 11-5.

Meanwhile, the Marlborough senior competition began on Friday.

Once again the Marlborough Go Girls team are competing in the men’s competition and showed in their opening match that they will be very competitive.

First up they took on Arotea Kiwi and although losing 4-2, turned in a promising performance.

The match was played in quarters with Arotea up 2-1 at halftime, a Tanya Hawley goal from a PC keeping the women in the game.

Go Girls lifted their game in the third quarter, equalizing through Emma Allison, but the men had the final say with two well-taken goals.

Kate Morrow, Hawley, Grace Davies, Pip Lunn and Fuerando Wiederhod turned in strong games for Go Girls.

Coach Denise Lloyd was pleased with their opening effort.

“We got stronger and a bit smarter as the game progressed, the girls realising they have to if they want to be competitive.

“It is pleasing to have a full squad … it makes for a healthy environment where you have to work hard to hold your position.”

Hockey season hits off with entertaining match-up

The 2019 Marlborough hockey season is officially underway.

The season opening was marked by an entertaining match at College Park on Sunday, involving a Marlborough Invitation team against a Tiger Turf combination.

Both sides contained many top-class performers, including current Blacks Sticks George Muir, David Brydon and Deanna Ritchie. Local sporting identities Megan Craig and Ti’i Paulo also tried their hand.

After four free-flowing quarters the Marlborough team came out on top 11-5.

Meanwhile, the Marlborough senior competition began on Friday.

Once again the Marlborough Go Girls team are competing in the men’s competition and showed in their opening match that they will be very competitive.

First up they took on Arotea Kiwi and although losing 4-2, turned in a promising performance.

The match was played in quarters with Arotea up 2-1 at halftime, a Tanya Hawley goal from a PC keeping the women in the game.

Go Girls lifted their game in the third quarter, equalizing through Emma Allison, but the men had the final say with two well-taken goals.

Kate Morrow, Hawley, Grace Davies, Pip Lunn and Fuerando Wiederhod turned in strong games for Go Girls.

Coach Denise Lloyd was pleased with their opening effort.

“We got stronger and a bit smarter as the game progressed, the girls realising they have to if they want to be competitive.

“It is pleasing to have a full squad … it makes for a healthy environment where you have to work hard to hold your position.”