The Waitaki Girls’ High School First XI and Pirata Blue outlasted the rest, and will now clash in the North Otago senior mixed hockey final at Centennial Park tomorrow.
Waitaki Girls’ finished top of the standings after round one, before the competition was split into top and bottom four sections, and the schoolgirls continued their good form in round two to make the decider.
Likewise, Pirata Blue has been solid all year and deserve a crack at the silverware.
No semifinals were played, and the finalists were decided on points.
Waitaki Girls’ captain Jordon Cunningham (17) said this year had been a good one for her side and was confident its form would carry through on Saturday.
“I am confident, but staying humble at the same time. Obviously anything can happen on the day.”
She felt Waitaki Girls’ was strong across the turf and would rely on the experience of senior player Connie Searle, and the reliability of Kendal Rowland and Kirsten Rogers, who have all been in good touch.
Cunningham said first-year goalkeeper Anna Scott had also been impressive and expected her to be tough to breach.
For Pirata captain Shane Emerson, making the final was bittersweet.
He will miss the decider due to a pre-planned family holiday to the Gold Coast, which he put down to “poor planning”.
Emerson expected the father-son combination of Deon and Keenan Bridger to provide a mix of youthful exuberance and veteran experience and said Pirata would have to be on top form, particularly in shutting down Waitaki Girls’ attack.
“For us, I guess it will be a bit more experience and we will have to be really focused on our defence.”