Tainui lives to fight another day – and anything is possible from here.
The Oamaru club came up trumps when it mattered most, bashing Wakanui 4-1 in Timaru last Saturday to sail into the semifinals of the South Canterbury premier men’s hockey competition.
When the dust had cleared, Tainui finished the round robin on 20 points, a single point clear of Wakanui.
Tainui will now play third-placed Northern Hearts in the semifinals in Timaru this weekend.
The loser plays Wakanui for a place in the plate final, and the winner plays the loser of the major semifinal (Cambridge v Temuka) for a place in the final.
“Hopefully we’re hitting our straps at just the right time,” Tainui player-coach Jared Ovens said.
“We’re confident we can beat any team on our day.”
Ovens cited the example of Wakanui, which finished fourth after the round robin last year and ended up reaching the final, and almost winning it.
The star of the show for Tainui last Saturday was forward Josh Dalziel, who smacked in four goals. Three were off penalty corners and Dalziel added a penalty stroke.
Tainui led just 1-0 at halftime but produced some of its best hockey of the season to run away with the game.
“It was ideal,” Ovens said.
“It’s been coming for a few weeks and it was very timely to put a good performance in.”
Tainui B capped a great weekend for the club with a 4-2 win over Excelsior in the second division clash in Timaru.
Ryan Mackay scored two goals for Tainui B, and Cam Hill and Thomas Wyllie added the others.
There will be a rematch between the teams in the minor semifinal in Oamaru this weekend.