Temuka hoping to surprise as new men's hockey division one addition
A new Temuka side is hoping to ruffle a few feathers in this year's South Canterbury Hockey men's division one competition.
With their entry and Wakanui now down to one side, the competition still has five teams.
Former Black Stick Hayden Shaw has created the Temuka side, which features a number of new players to senior hockey and none from the other senior clubs.
"We wanted to wait and didn't steal players from any of the clubs. We have dispensations for division two players wanting to play but have only needed to use one."
Shaw said the decision to create the team was easy.
"I went to South Canterbury Hockey and said I want to make this competition and hockey in South Canterbury better..
"It's another pathway for players here in the region and hopefully it makes the game stronger."
It's a Temuka side created without the club losing their division two team.
Shaw will act as a player-coach and has recruited some handy acquisitions.
"Warren Morgan, who I bumped into while playing cricket for Temuka, is keen on his hockey and wasn't playing, and I think once he's fully hockey fit, he will be the best player in the competition. He's come from Howick Pakuranga in Auckland."
Andrew Kirkcaldie and Ethan Dick are two other players worth monitoring, while Englishman Callum Askins will be handy to watch for the first half of the season, before he heads home.
George Foster has some great skills and will be another to follow closely.
Shaw said it's exciting having the new team in the competition.
"I'm confident the way we will play may challenge a few teams but at the same time it'll be a good challenge for us."
Germany are the most consistent men's side in the world and Shaw has implemented a couple of their training techniques to keep the team ahead.
Pre-season went well with an 8-0 thumping of Cambridge but Shaw doesn't want to read much into that.
"They were missing three of their key players so that makes a difference to any team. We just need to produce consistent hockey each week."
He believed having five Timaru Boys' High School players would help the side.
"It gives us plenty of speed and youth up front."
Northern Hearts player-coach Matt Cooper said they had assembled a settled squad.
"We've lost a couple from last year but picked up Andrew Ross and two Boys' High players, so it'll be a pretty good squad," he said.
"The boys are ready to go and hopefully we can play some strong hockey."
Cambridge coach Hamish Brown said they were missing some key players from last season's winning side.
"We've lost a few members from last season who were a big part of the squad but we still have plenty of talent."
Brown said Cambridge were looking to take things one game at a time.
They have picked some handy recruits in Ryan Horne, Jethro Palmer, Will Sharp and Matt Ellis.
Tainui captain Jared Ovens said they had maintained a strong core of players from last season.
"It's great having Temuka in the grade but at the same time disappointing Wakanui have dropped down to one team."
This season Wakanui and Tainui get more games at home, something which pleased Ovens.
"It'll be a good thing but the hardest part for us will be finding referees. Hopefully we manage to."
They've lost Richard Knight, Ryan Stringer and Caleb Ludemann but picked up George Smith, Greg Webster and Henry Bower as replacements.
Wakanui have a strong squad now they've combined, although captain Sam Moore said they'd miss Hayden Sinclair, who had relocated to Australia.
First up Tainui welcome Hearts and Cambridge face Temuka.
Cambridge: Andrew Brunton, Angus Dyer, Ben Grant, Ben Hudson, BJ Mason, Hamish Lee, Jacob Parker, Jarrod Parmenter, Jethro Palmer, Jono Ellis, Leighton Brehaut, Matt Ellis, Matt McAtamney, Ryan Horne, Sam Taylor, Simon Small, Tom Nation, William Ching, Willy Sharp, Wyatt McAughtrie.
Temuka: Hayden Shaw, Ethan Dick, Bruce Mattingly, Andrew Kirkcaldie, Sean Rhodes, Hayden Russell, Cody Crawshaw, Jordan Jenkins, George Foster, Duncan Rollinson, Oli Anderson, Elliot Barratt, Liam Parker, David Robertson, Callum Askins, Warren Morgan.
Northern Hearts: Josh McArthur (c), Ethan Mitchell (vc), Tim Butler, Simon Cooper, Matt Cooper, Josh Smallridge, Hamish Moss, Tim Greenall, Keiran Iggo, Jacob Pearse, Andrew Ross, Reagan Stevenson, Alex Betts, Tim Sheed, Laurie Carter
Wakanui: Nathan Stephen, Jacob Gray, Mitchell Moore, Stephen Blain, Bradley Going, Cameron Burton, Hayden Bonnington, Daniel Bennett, Sam Clarke, Sam Moore, Jeremy Moore, George Youngman, Sam Harrison, Thomas White, Sam Bennett, Ben Niles, Andrew Fisher, Andrew Moore, Nick Sinclair.
Tainui: Shaun Cunningham, Jared Ovens, Josh Dalziel, Nick Dalziel, Fraser Hollamby, Paul Alden, Brent Martyn, Greg Webster, George Smith, Henry Bower, Tom Wouters, Jim Keown, Sam Brocas.