Tainui's teamwork results in upset victory
Tainui caused the biggest shock so far in the senior men's hockey competition by tipping over Northern Hearts 3-2 in Oamaru on Saturday.
Two penalty corner goals from Richard Knight had the home team on its way to a victory they have threatened to grab for the past couple of seasons.
Tainui coach Shaun Cunningham said while his team benefited from a couple of soft goals, all players stood up and worked hard.
"We have the ability to trust anyone on the field at the moment. We lost our usual fullback to injury within five minutes so with a couple of makeshift fullbacks I thought we did really well."
Northern Hearts' Matt Cooper said his team failed defensively at crucial times and they would need to improve quickly.
A second half hat-trick from Jack Leslie steadied an initially nervous Timaru Boys' High School (TBHS) who eventually romped past Tinwald 8-1.
Tinwald scored first inside three minutes from a direct strike from a penalty corner which was a major surprise after their 13-0 loss to Cambridge in the opening round.
TBHS righted things with two quick goals but found the Tinwald defence more resolute than they were expecting.
Tinwald were always likely to struggle late in the game as fitness and a lack of substitutes told.
TBHS coach Ben Grant said his team played below its best in the first half before lifting the intensity in the second 35 minutes.
"We played to their level in the first half but still should have put away more of our opportunities. In the second half [we] played a great passing game which resulted in some good goals."
He said vice-captain Campbell Ross was strong on the ball in the mid-field which helped his team gain the upper hand.
In the battle of Ashburton, Wakanui Black defeated Wakanui Blue 3-0 to underline their favourite credentials for yet another title.
Timaru Girls' High School coach Bruce Small's puffed out cheeks were a sure sign of frustrated optimism, despite his team's 2-1 defeat to Hampstead in senior women's hockey on Saturday. TGHS have spent the last two seasons searching for victories as they languished at the bottom of the ladder.
For 50 minutes, it looked like they had finally cracked it.
A Sarah Taylor goal late in the first half was a deserved reward for the team which had withstood early raids from the visitors, especially down the right wing.
Unlike previous years, the schoolgirls applied attacking pressure of their own, despite not having their share of the ball throughout the match.
Eventually the pressure told as Rosie Blackmore evened the scores and then with four minutes to play, Nikita Kruger scored the match winner.
St Andrews' stranglehold on the women's competition may be loosening after they were beaten by Geraldine 3-1.
Meanwhile, the closely fought match between Craighead and Hampstead/Collegians ended in a 1-1 draw.
- The Timaru Herald