The Tasman women's hockey team have finished second at the nationals after a 2-0 loss to North Harbour in Saturday's final in Wellington.
Tasman, a combined Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast team who assembled the day before the tournament, excelled throughout the week.
They were unbeaten in five games leading into the final, having scored 22 goals and conceding only seven.
North Harbour were also unbeaten in their pool and were a highly polished side, including three national hockey league players.
The game began at a furious pace, Harbour playing four strikers up front and forcing Tasman to quickly readjust their defensive pattern. But Tasman were the first to create a goal-scoring opportunity when Jay Sigley picked up a pass from Stacey Lloyd in front of goal, a desperate dive from Harbour's goalie denying Tasman the goal.
The game bounced backwards and forwards, with both sides creating opportunities as two great saves from Rhianne Woolf and Monique Williams kept Tasman in the running.
But as the game progressed, Tasman started to tire and North Harbour finally got through the defensive line to go one up.
Five minutes before halftime, Harbour scored again after they broke out from a Tasman attack and go ahead 2-0.
Tasman changed their attacking setup in the second half and ran two high strikers, Liz Redwood and Jay Sigley working well together to create some great scoring opportunities. But Harbour were happy to play a defensive game, making it difficult for Tasman to break through.
In Tasman's midfield, Hannah Climo and Stacey Loyd worked tirelessly throughout the game, as did front runners Danielle Saina, Emily Wallace and Sue Morgan.
Nicole Machen at centre half had a great game and worked in well with high fullback Woolf, left half Lauren McMahon and right half Monique Williams to stifle any Harbour attacks.
Although Tasman had the better of the second half, they were unable to score and Harbour were happy to run down the clock and take the game and the national title.
Tasman also had four players, Climo, Machen, Redwood and Lloyd, named in the 16-player tournament squad for possible games later this year against an Australian team.
- © Fairfax NZ News