29 Aug Hockey Boys & Girls Winners
It was an outstanding year for the Opunake High School Boys & Girls Hockey teams. Both sides worked their way through round-robin competitions to finish top of both their respective ladders.
When it came to finals, the boys went in as slight favourites against an Inglewood team they hadn’t lost to for the year. The OHS Boys started the game well, with some strong team play and inter-passing finished by Harley Harding scoring the opening goal of the match after five minutes, which is how the score stayed until halftime. Mostly OHS controlled the first half with the defence being tested very rarely.
The second half saw the OHS boys piling on the pressure with waves of attacks entering the Inglewood penalty circle, only for final passes to miss their mark – it was starting to look like missed opportunities could potentially be costly until player-of-the-final & captain, Taine Morgan drag-pushed a shot home after a bunch of penalty corners were awarded in OHS favour. The second goal took any remaining wind out of the Inglewood sails, and not long after the final finished with our boys winning the Championship grade after having moved up from Division 3 the year before. Aside from Taine, Lucas Feek & Keifer Ericsson were particularly dangerous down the right side of the field, their pace and skill causing Inglewood plenty of trouble throughout the match. Boys winners 2-0.
In the Girls Championship Final, despite being #1 seed, the Opunake Girls were probably underdogs as they hadn’t beaten NPGHS Boarders at all in 2017. Whereas the OHS Boys dominated their final, the girls game was a lot tighter.
Both sides had their opportunities through-out the first half, failing to convert a handful of PC’s each. Just short of half-time with NPGHS on attack, and OHS defence holding strong, eventual player-of-the-final Ayla Baldwin made a play that will go down as the defining moment of the game with a goal-line save keeping NPGHS scoreless for the half, but giving the OHS girls that confidence boost that they were right in it.
As the game wore on, Madeline Symes & Danielle Kidd started to dominate the right side, with Madeline in particular making some telling runs into the attacking 25. With minutes to go, and overtime looking likely, the OHS girls were awarded a late PC, a shot to the left, followed by a nice deflection the coastal side scored through Aimee Abplanalp. All that was left to do was hold on for a few nervy minutes, particularly as NPGHS went straight onto attack their potential equaliser drifting wide. Time-up. OHS Girls winner 1-0.
The boys now move onto Woolaston Trophy being held in Stratford, 4-8th Sept.
The girls disbanding for the season, massive thanks to Aleisha Cram for getting them all together.
Huge thanks to local hockey legend, Lloyd Morgan, for putting many hours into coaching both sides.
Vince Edwards, you were also the man, driving a van every Tuesday night to NP or Stratford – OHS has to travel at least 40min for every game, the only Taranaki Secondary School to do this – so you’re awesome Eddie.
Thanks to all the parents and supporters who log that travel time also.