Eastern Hutt woman take out hockey crown
It was a case of heartbreak and delight for two Hutt Valley teams competing in the premier club finals at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
Revenge was on the minds of last year's beaten women's finalists Eastern Hutt with a clear-cut win over determined rivals Harbour City 3-0.
Eastern started the season firing and remained at the top of the table for two rounds.
However, in a rebuilding year for Eastern, they spent the second half of the season testing different strategies and methods to find what worked best for them.
In the final, Eastern had strike force upfront with the combination of ex-Black Stick Niniwa Roberts, and her younger sister and team captain Aniwaka.
The first goal came through a Roberts' exclusive, where Aniwaka whipped the ball into the circle and Niniwa deflected it to score.
The second goal went to national hockey league midfielder Kirsty Cole, who slammed home a penalty corner, and the final goal came from captain Aniwaka after she beat the stranded Harbour goalkeeper one-on-one.
Eastern coach Reg Robinson was pleased with the win.
"Tactics don't win the game full stop, you still need the effort from the girls. I just guide them the best I can and they came through . . . It's absolutely great.'
Captain Aniwaka said winning was surreal but the focus is now on next season.
"The key is retaining players and making sure they want to play for Eastern again, hopefully they all come back and we can try win another title.'
The men's title fight went down to the wire seeing Hutt Hockey Club miss out on the top spot 2-1 to Harbour City.
Harbour scored first through a speedy break away but Hutt stayed strong and equalised late in the second half through a well- worked team goal finished off by New Zealand under-18 player Benedict van Woerkom.
With the score locked at 1-all on the fulltime whistle, it went to golden goal where each side was reduced to nine players and whoever scored first would win.
After three minutes of extra time, Harbour was the one to slip in the winner leaving a heartbroken Hutt side.
Hutt captain Scott Barnett said what let them down on the day was failing to convert in the circle.
'It was one of those hard games where we can look back and say there were quite a few opportunities missed.
"But that's the way it goes in sport.'
Despite the result, prospects are still bright for the club, he said.
- Hutt News