Timaru Boys' High School hockey first XI heading to Christchurch competition
The Timaru Boys' High School hockey first XI have made a move to match their rugby and cricket counterparts.
This season, TBHS will be taking part in the Canterbury Secondary Premier League, which comprises the top eight teams from the Canterbury-region in a tournament similar to the Crusaders Secondary Schools rugby championship.
It's the first time TBHS hockey has ventured away from playing in the local competition, but all their players will not be lost to the area completely, with a number of them spread among the senior teams.
TBHS coach Ben Grant said that it was too good an opportunity not to take.
"The chance to play strong schoolboy hockey every week was something we jumped at.
"We fell into a gap between our two local divisions which would not see us get regular competitive hockey, so this is the opportunity our boys needed."
TBHS will play all their SPL fixtures on Wednesday evenings in Ashburton, with the opening round starting on May 3.
It's a competition which will certainly test the side, with three of the teams ranked in the top 10 in the country.
St Andrew's College will be the competition favourites after finishing fourth at nationals in 2016 and only losing two of that successful squad, but Timaru Boys' will be hoping they can knock them over.
A strong contingent of the squad will be playing division one hockey, giving them a balance of both school and club hockey. The three local sides in the competition have all picked up TBHS signings for 2017.
"Playing for clubs will give the boys the opportunity to play with more experienced players and get used to the speed and physicality of the game, meanwhile our TBHS games will give them a more structured base.
"It is a great balance for the boys" said Grant.
The defending champion Cambridge side have picked up three TBHS players, while Northern Hearts have two. The newly established Temuka side has benefited the most out of the TBHS move, with five of the side taking senior spots.
South Canterbury Hockey declined to comment on Timaru Boys' playing in Christchurch.
Meanwhile, Timaru hosts the annual Anzac secondary school hockey tournament next week in Timaru.
Boys' High play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with the girls' tournament featuring Craighead and Timaru Girls' set for later in the week.
Timaru Boys' squad: Jono Ellis (c), Oli Anderson, Elliot Barratt, Laurie Carter, Brad Cvitanich, Pieter Dahmen, Matt Ellis, Liam Parker, Sean Rhodes, Duncan Rollinson, Jack Sands, William Sharp, Tim Sheed, Ben Stayt, Ethan Tyree, Alec Whitticase.