Palmerston North Boys' High School grabbed the points in the opening match of the men's club hockey competition with a 2-1 win over College at the twin turfs on Saturday.
College started well, holding on to possession and playing a fast, passing game that kept Boys' High busy in their own half.
They lived off Boys' High errors, coming close to scoring a couple of times.
College opened the scoring inside 10 minutes with a polished variation from a penalty corner and it looked like College was gaining the upper hand.
However, College saw two chances go begging, when shots sped outside Boys' High's goal posts that kept the schoolboys in the game. As it got close to halftime, play evened out as College appeared to tire.
Greg Bates was outstanding for Boys' High at centre midfield with his composure and aggressive defence, inspiring his team-mates.
After the break, Boys' High continued to haggle College and gained some possession which they used to create a string of chances that saw them level the score after they snuck in a deflection by Aaron Purser off a penalty corner.
College spurted back on attack, however, a couple of slipups allowed a penalty corner and Boys' High snuck the win with a Matt Chard penalty drag flick goal late in the match.
Matt Young and Andrew Gardner were outstanding up front for College, while Bates and Matt Peel were excellent in midfield for Boys' High.
Honours were shared 2-2 in the second match of the round.
High School Hockey Club got off to a stunner against Marist, opening the scoring in the first seconds of the match.
HSHC followed that up with field goal off a dazzling solo dribble.
Marist ground their way back into the match, with collective defence bustling and upsetting HSHC's structured game.
The conflict of styles saw lots of turnovers to both sides.
As halftime neared, Marist took a couple of chances.
Player of the day Nick Chong's solo dart upfield startled HSHC and he fed Stephan Pope for the first goal and minutes later Josh Scott was on hand to finish a pass.
In the second half play scragged back and forth as players searched for the winner but time ran out in an entertaining match.
Massey got their season off in style, with a 6-0 win over a young, rebuilding Tech College Old Boys in Wanganui.
Manawatu College Old Boys had the bye.
In the women's competition, High School Hockey Club A began their season with a 7-0 win in their derby against HSHC Rebels.
Three early goals to HSHC A set the tone, with their teamwork and unselfish passing working in their favour.
Carla Burt inspired with a hat-trick.
Rebels competed in patches, however, HSHC A dominated in the second spell.
College's experience showed in their 5-0 win over Palmerston North Girls' High School.
The game was won in the first half with three goals.
Girls' High had a strong second half, especially in the last 20 minutes, playing with more self belief.
Massey ignited their season with a 3-0 win over Collegians.
Rachel Peck scored a double and Cat Mayhill grabbed her debut goal.
- Manawatu Standard
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