This season LAC was represented in the Hockey Manawatu secondary school competition by not only the usual girls’ team but also, for the first time, a boys’ team, thanks to our partnership with Manawatu College, who topped up our team of 10 players with two of their boys.
We started the season at the beginning of May with round robins. The girls team had a mixed bag of results with 6 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses but this was still enough to earn us a place in the semi finals. After going down 3-1 in a tight semi final game against Rangitikei College, the girls came back fighting in the 3rd/4th playoff to beat Feilding Development 5-2 to claim the bronze. We had drawn to Feilding Development in our two previous games so this was an especially pleasing result and terrific way to end the season.
The boys’ team had one round of round robin resulting in 7 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. The division was then split into Top 6 / Bottom 4 and another round robin was played. The boys stepped up another level to win all 5 of their Top 6 games and go into the semis as top qualifiers. While our semi was a total non-event (we wasted them), the final was set to be a real showdown of the two best teams in the division. St Peter’s had beaten us 4-1 in the first round robin, and we had beaten them 3-1 in the Top 6 round robin.
We had perfect hockey weather for our Sunday morning final. It was a tough first half with the score locked at 1-1. But once again our boys stepped up another level with their fitness and determination in the second half to put in 3 unanswered goals to win the game 4-1 and take the Boys Division 2 trophy.
Covid was an interruption to the season, but other than having to follow all the Covid rules once we returned, it was actually a blessing in the end for our hockey teams. Hockey is one of the very few sports that was able to continue under the Level 2.5 restrictions and not only did both our teams pick up right where they left off, due to one school pulling out it gave our girls a guaranteed semi final spot and our boys’ captain a chance to heal the foot he broke right before lockdown so he only missed 2 games instead of the rest of the season!
The improvement throughout both teams over the course of the season was a pleasure to see and this was achieved through commitment, drive, the right attitude and a desire to do their best for the team. I have enjoyed coaching both teams and really want to thank each individual player for such a great season. Thanks especially to our captains, Jessica Hiri and Liam Blakeborough, and boys’ vice-captain, William Brothwell.
Thank you also to our girls’ team manager, Rachel Paki, and our boys’ team manager, Tsarine Gardner, and to a fantastic group of parents for all your support.