The North Otago Under-18 hockey team have returned from the Men’s Association Championship in Christchurch after finishing in 13th place, but claimed two big scalps in Otago and Canterbury.
The local side, coached by Fraser Hollamby and Richard Knight, scored their first major upset by downing Canterbury 3-1 in the opening pool clash with goals from Angus Savage and Charlie Bower.
North Otago narrowly missed out in their next pool fixtures as Hawke’s Bay netted with less than 20 seconds to play in a 2-1 defeat, before being beaten 3-1 by Horowhenua in the last pool tie.
The golds then fell to two tightly-contested 1-0 losses to Otago and Southland but gained revenge over the old enemy with a 3-1 victory over Otago in their last match of the tournament with goals from Connor Daly, Aiden Scarlet and Tom Wouters.
Hollamby said he was pleased with his team’s performances throughout the competition but was disappointed to miss out on a top eight place after conceding a late goal against Hawke’s Bay.
“We played against Canterbury in the first game and beat them, which was a shock to everyone,” he said.
“Hawke’s Bay scored in the last 16 seconds, if they hadn’t have scored, we could have been in the top eight. It would have gone to goal difference.
“They (North Otago) punched well above their weight. There were a couple of lacklustre performances in the middle, but to pick themselves up and beat Otago in the last game, we’re absolutely rapt with those two results.”
By JAMES FORD
PHOTO: Back Row: Richard Knight (coach), Charlie Bower, Caleb Ludemann, Will Mitchell, Angus Savage, Tom Wouters, Aidan Scarlet, Jonty Naylor, Fraser Hollamby (coach) and JoAnn Ludemann (manager).
Front Row: Pierce McLeod, Connor Daly, Kayden Lanigan, William Harrison, Jacob Pearce, Logan Chandler and Sean Daly.