Southland men put loss behind them

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 26/09/2012

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The Southland-Otago men's hockey team bounced back from an opening day loss to thrash the New Zealand Defence Force 6-1 at the national senior tournament in Wellington yesterday.

After opening the tournament with an encouraging 7-5 loss to title favourites, Wellington, Southland were desperate to return to winning ways.

They were able to do just that against the New Zealand Defence Force, racing out to a -3-0 halftime lead, before adding another three goals in the second half.

Kieran Hales, who scored a goal against Wellington on Monday, was in menacing touch in front of goal, notching a hat-trick. Matt Young added two goals, while Daniel Taiaroa also struck in the win.

Southland's win came at a cost with Andrew Wilson leaving the game with a pulled hamstring. He is expected to miss the next couple of games.

Hockey Southland elite coach Mark Stafford said it was a much improved effort from the men, who set the tone for the win, with some solid defence.

Stafford was also pleased with the team's penalty corner conversion rate, with the Southland-Otago team scoring three goals from eight opportunities.

The Southland-Otago team has a rest day today, before playing its final pool game against Wanganui tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Southland women's team will be back in action against Taranaki today, after not featuring yesterday.

Southland made a wonderful start to the tournament on Monday, upsetting Wellington and Canterbury, and can book a spot in the top four if they win one of their final two pool games.

The Southland teams dined in style last night, courtesy of a free meat package from the Mad Butcher company.

Mad Butcher operations manager Dan Adams, who is the father of Southland rugby player Tayler Adams, supplied the sides with the meat after reading about the outstanding results of the women's team on day one of the tournament in The Southland Times.

Adams, who is in line to debut for the Stags against Northland tonight, plays his club rugby for Star, who are coached by Craig Pullar.

Pullar's wife, Mary, is the manager of the Southland women's hockey team.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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