Manawatu's under-18 boys' hockey team finally got off the mark with a 3-0 win over Tauranga at the national tournament in Palmerston North yesterday.
Coach Tony Brougham said a couple of positional changes and doing the basics right made all the difference.
"We had a poor trapping day on Tuesday, so it was nice to see some crisp skills out there today."
Manawatu's goalscorers were George Falloon, who bagged a double, and Jordie Beech.
The win means they finish third in their pool behind champions Auckland, and Southern.
They will move on to a separate tournament as the top 16 and lower 16 split after pool play.
"We want to finish ninth now," Brougham said. "We can restore a bit of pride that way and win some good games in the process."
The team is still struggling with injuries to key players, in particular Matt Brougham, who looks likely to sit out most of the remaining games with shin splints.
A hat-trick to Manawatu under-18 girls' team member Charlotte Symes completed a clean sweep as they finished top of their group at the national tournament in Dunedin.
Their 3-0 win over Nelson made it three wins from three games, without conceeding a goal.
Coach Mike Yates was full of praise, saying the players continued to step up their game each day.
"They had great passing today and fantastic defence once again. To not concede a goal so far is a just reward for them."
Manawatu will go through to the top eight supremely confident after putting together impressive displays back-to-back.
They were to play a tough match today against Southern who finished with two wins, and a loss to North Harbour.
However, Yates was optimistic.
"If we continue to play well, I'm confident we can do the business," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News