posted on August 05, 2011 11:48
Timaru was the venue for this year’s U15 Boys Premier Hockey Tournament. The team’s objective was to finish in the medals having last year just missed out with a fourth placing.
As usual for Counties this team was made up of a wide age group 13 – 15 year olds not the case for the larger associations such as Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Canterbury.
Snow started to fall Sunday afternoon as the boys had a practice on one of two turfs. Luckily for all the worst f the snow storm missed Timaru and we were blessed with fine frosty weather for most of the week.
Having only one game per day the boys could afford to play 100% effort. With a full squad of 16 players we were able to use all 16 players per game to relieve pressure on the high work rate positions.
In each of the first three games the boys started on the back foot finding themselves 1 goal down. As a sign of a strong determination and character the boys were able to fight back and equalise. After scoring our first goal you could see the boy’s spirits lift and it was not long before they repeated this with another goal.
A feature of the Counties team this year is that most of our strikers (Forwards) were small in height but gritty in determination. Some lovely goals were scored by one of our strikers launching himself towards a hit ball to deflect it past the defence and into the goal. There are certainly no disadvantages to being short if a player is prepared to do this.
With four games and four wins we found ourselves in the semi final against Auckland. The Auckland coach was quoted as saying his side “ wanted revenge for their hatch cup defeat to Counties in 2009” Auckland were able to crack our solid mid field and defence that had previously held out all other teams. The game finally went Auckland’s way 3-1.
We now had to focus on Bay of Plenty (BOP) in order to achieve our objective of a medal having come fourth last year. This final game started like a chess game with neither team giving way. With the help of some great penalty corner options at our disposal we were able to open up a lead over the Bay which we managed to hold on to as the time ticked down. The final whistle saw the objective achieved and a very happy Counties squad, coaches, manager and many invaluable parent supporters.
The team was privileged to be treated to a great Haka display by BOP team who were gracious in defeat.
Team Results at Tournament
Counties Manukau 6 – 2 Northland
“ “ 4 – 2 Otago
“ “ 3 – 1 Bay Of Plenty
“ “ 3 – 1 Wellington
“ “ 1 – 3 Auckland
“ “ 4 – 2 Bay Of Plenty
Final placing 3rd in New Zealand
Coach Jared Slee (contact details mob 0274699489)
Ass Coach Naresh Kana ( mob 0211647987)
Manager David Powell ( contact details mob 0274 859 321)