Hearts leave it late to post win
Northern Hearts got their senior men's hockey season back on track with a 2-1 victory over Timaru Boys' High School on Saturday.
After being thumped 5-0 by Wakanui Black in their opening round, Hearts controlled the majority of the match against the schoolboys' but had to count on two late goals from Justin Hardacre and Josh Smallridge to turn their persistence into points.
TBHS had the better of the rivalry late last season and while the team looked well organised, they struggled to apply long periods of pressure and were fortunate Hearts were not as clinical as they should have been in front of goal.
Hearts player Matt Cooper said there was plenty of effort from his attackers but the execution was lacking.
He said the team kept their composure better than they did in the first-up loss to Wakanui Black.
"We just have a few little things to work on that aren't big issues and should sort themselves out as the season goes on."
TBHS coach Ben Grant said goalie Hamish Dewar kept the scores level for as long as he could.
"We took a while to wake up but it was good that we were competitive. I thought we had the better of the last 20 minutes but made some defensive lapses.
A late Ethan Mitchell goal earned them a competition bonus point for a one goal defeat.
Cambridge, who were fresh off their 13-0 demolition of Tinwald in round one, travelled to face defending champions Wakanui Black in Ashburton.
While they put in a better second half effort, they still went down 4-2.
Cambridge trailed 2-0 at halftime but managed to give as good as they got in the second half.
Wakanui Black player/coach Mark Bennett said the sky blues would have to be respected for being the big improvers on last season.
Wakanui Blue overcame a spirited Tainui outfit 3-1.
It was Tainui who scored first through Jesse Peacock, missed an open goal chance earlier in the game.
Wakanui Blue eventually wrestled their way to a dominant position in the match.
The cool head of captain Sam Moore controlled things in the middle of the turf and two late goals from the ever-dangerous Hayden Sinclair put the result beyond doubt.
The women's competition looks to be far more even this season after the opening round on Saturday.
A well organised and attack minded Timaru Girls' High School, the cellar dwellers of the competition in recent seasons, lost to defending champions St Andrews but only 3-0.
New co-coach Bruce Small said his girls played well in the first half, applying pressure where they could to only trail 1-0 at the break.
He said the second half was not as composed.
Geraldine ousted Craighead 2-1 with both teams playing uninspiring, opening round hockey.
Craighead conceded an opening goal against the run of play and then struggled to create chances of their own.
Hampstead also got the better of club rivals Hampstead/Collegians.
- The Timaru Herald