The North Otago men’s hockey side came third for the second successive year at the Ian Smith Trophy held in Oamaru over the weekend.
It was the 55th year of the Ian Smith Trophy, the longest running hockey tournament in New Zealand.
To cap off the successful tournament, five of the North Otago players were named in a 20-man tournament team squad to prepare for a match against the Southern NHL team.
The players were Shaun Cunningham, Sam Brocas, Fraser Hollamby, Richard Knight and Nick Dalziel.
North Otago won three of their five games to come third overall, with wins against Eastern 5-3, Invercargill 3-1 and Central Otago 5-0, before losing 4-3 to eventual winners South Canterbury and 2-1 to runners-up Mid Canterbury.
North Otago Hockey president Shaun Cunningham said the tournament was a fantastic success for North Otago.
“It was awesome. The tournament went really well and we are grateful that the weather was good, apart from being a bit cold on Saturday morning.”
Cunningham was happy with the performance of the North Otago side.
“I’m happy with where we finished. Fifteen minutes against South Canterbury when they scored four goals cost us a higher finish,” he said.
While North Otago haven’t won the tournament for many years, they have always put up a good showing.
“We have generally put up a good fight and finished third the last two years in a row.”
One player he feels stood out for the side was right wing Nick Dalziel, who won man-of-the-match accolades in three of their four games on the opening two days.
“Nick was superb. He just kept running and running and was voted by the umpires as man of the match three times.”
Cunningham was pleased with the performance of the three youngsters from Waitaki Boys’ High.
“Tom Wouters, Jacob Pearce and Will Mitchell played really well, stepped up and owned their positions by the end of the tournament.”
There are no more tournaments left for the side so now it’s back to club hockey, where Tainui are currently sitting second in the combined Mid-South Canterbury, North Otago competition.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY
PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD
INTO SPACE: North Otago’s Roger Orr sends a pass towards goal against Mid Canterbury yesterday.