Signs point to a nail-biter of a final for hockey competition

Stepping up . . . Waitaki Boys’ High School first XI was part of the men’s North Otago Hockey competition this year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/DAVE BOYLE

Expect the unexpected.

After one of the tightest North Otago Hockey competitions, and narrow semifinal wins, anything could happen in tomorrow’s final, president Jared Ovens says.

Shamrocks and Waitaki Boys’ High School Development were made to work for their spots in the senior mixed final.

At the end of the regular season, Waitaki Boys’, Shamrocks and Pirata Blue were tied for first on 44 points.

In last Saturday’s semifinals, Shamrocks beat Pirata Blue 1-0 in a late goal, while Waitaki Boys’ beat Pirata White 1-0 in a penalty shootout.

Ovens said he was preparing for a big final at the North Otago Hockey turf.

‘‘I see this is going to be very, very close and it could go either way which is always kind of exciting,’’ Ovens said.

‘‘You never know what’s going to happen.’’

The top of the senior mixed table had been strong all season while the bottom half — made up of mainly development school teams — had seen great improvements.

‘‘They’ve all come on in leaps and bounds as well, but it’s good to see the top half of the table being so close, and people are beating everyone, and it was never a guaranteed victory.’’

The senior men’s league final between Tainui Gold and Lower Waitaki took place last night, after the Oamaru Mail went to print.

The competition — which had been resurrected this year — involved Tainui Gold, Lower Waitaki, Tainui Rovers and the Waitaki Boys’ first XI, the secondary school team getting plenty of experience against the men.

Across the teams, there had been players coming out of the woodwork to play again, and some returned after a 30›year hiatus from the game, Ovens said.

‘‘It’s been a very successful year, which we’ll start to try and build on for next year.’’ Shamrocks and Waitaki Boys’ Development’s final gets under way at 3pm tomorrow.