Small club celebrates big wins
A tiny club in the Mackenzie Country has had quite the run in this year's South Canterbury primary school hockey championships.
Mackenzie-Cave's top primary school side has been unbeaten this season, while 12 of its 13 team members will represent South Canterbury at Primary A or B level during the October school holidays in national or regional tournaments.
The 13th player had a broken arm during season at the time of the trials.
Co-coach Peter Darling said the team won 15 matches in a row, including last weekend's final against St Andrews-Waimate Stars. "The kids are all really keen to learn, and they all like winning," he said.
"They've been lucky over the years, we've had some good coaches in the area."
Mr Darling said some of the players had travelled more than 100km return for their matches at the Aorangi Hockey Turf in Timaru.
"Our club's spread pretty wide. We've got a lot of our players based in Fairlie and Cave," he said.
"But resources are really good, and the club seems to be going from strength to strength. We've got as many as six teams at primary and intermediate school level."
Mr Darling said the side lost the final last year, so were keen to make amends against St Andrews-Waimate Stars 1 last week.
In all bar one of the matches, the side scored four or more goals.
"You always get a large turnover of players at primary and intermediate level, as the kids move on, but we're hoping enough of them will still be around.
"But we've been fortunate that many of our best ones started playing hockey as young as five years old."
The recent coverage of the men's and women's Black Sticks at the London Olympics had also sparked interest in the sport, Mr Darling said, and he expected more players to sign up as a result.
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