Arotea down champions in opener
The Arotea Kiwi men's hockey side opened their account in the Nelson men's division one competition with a morale-boosting first-up 6-3 win against defending champions Tasman in Blenheim on Saturday.
A hat-trick of goals to Sam Solly set up the win, along with a commanding first half display by Arotea Kiwi who led 4-1 at the break. Nick Davey, Jack Boon and Tim Burt scored the other Kiwi goals.
After a free-flowing opening that suited the young Tasman team Solly bagged his first goal after just five minutes. Tasman bounced back quickly though, a series of penalty corners leading to their first, scored by Tim Kerr, who got all three Tasman goals.
Arotea Kiwi replied straight away with another good team goal, scored by Davey, quickly followed by Solly's second.
The home side bagged their fourth late in the first half, a well-taken quick free hit by Thomas Westend leading to a first senior goal for Boon.
Solly had his hat-trick soon into the second spell, before Tasman began to dominate possession and claimed their second and third goals. However a late strike to Burt with 10 minutes to go put the game out of reach.
Players to shine in a good team effort were Alex Pearce and Matt Brydon at the back, Mike Mitchell in midfield, both on attack and defence, along with strikers Solly and Davey. Team spokesman Malcolm King said, "We still need to work on fitness and holding possession for longer periods of time to compete week-in, week-out in this competition".
The news wasn't so positive for the two Marlborough-based women's sides competing in the Nelson competition.
Beawai hosted Tasman at College Park on Saturday, with the visitors prevailing 2-0.
Tasman notched their first halfway into the first half from a penalty corner by Karen Eden and then doubled their lead midway through the second spell with a goal from a breakaway play by Morgan Burns.
Beawai were under pressure for most of the game, their defence kept busy with Hannah Hocquard playing an outstanding game in goal, saving many goal-bound shots.
Loren Hickin also stood out in the Beawai defence, cutting out many dangerous attacks. Bronny Edwards and Karen Eden were outstanding in the Tasman midfield, with a high work rate while Tracy Hawley stood out in defence.
Beawai's limited opportunities on attack came largely through the efforts of Tegan Williams but the home side often ran out of support to capitalise on them. The Arotea Kiwi women's side travelled to Nelson to face Federal and came home with a big wake-up call ringing in their ears after going down 0-6.
Federal were superior in most areas, showing Arotea Kiwi the level of play they need to achieve to be competitive throughout the season.
The visitors had some good moments throughout the match but often their fitness and consistency let them down.
Yvonne Boyd and Sophie Lamain played well in attack with Denise Lloyd having a strong game in defence.
Results: Division one men: Waimai United a bye; Tasman 3 Arotea Kiwi 6; NBS Stoke 1 Federal 8.
Division one women: Beawai 0 Tasman 2; Arotea Kiwi 0 Federal 6.
The Marlborough Express