Mon, Sep 18, 2023 2:17 PM

Tasman's Tigers, Boars do battle up north


Peter Jones

Tasman’s representative teams at the Ford National Hockey Championships in Hamilton last week both enjoyed something of a rollercoaster ride.

The women’s side started strongly, winning their first four games to top their pool, but came out on the wrong side of a couple of extremely close play-off matches to wind up fourth. The Tasman men also started well, notching wins in their first two clashes, but lost the remainder to finish eighth.

The women opened their tier two campaign on Sunday against Wairarapa, coming away with a 3-2 victory. Skipper Rebecca Kersten, Pip Lunn and Ruby Evans scored the Tigers’ goals, all in the third quarter, and although Wairarapa bagged a double in the final quarter Tasman held on to clinch a vital victory.

On Monday they took on Taranaki and prevailed 4-2. Sisters Stacey Lloyd and Pip Lunn, plus Veronica Hardman, scored in the opening quarter, with Mickayla Sweetman adding their fourth in the second stanza. Lunn scored from a PC, their first penalty corner goal so far. Taranaki picked up two goals later in the match but were unable to prevent the southern side making a perfect start.

The Tigers were back in action on Wednesday, against hosts Waikato, and came away with a 2-0 win. Lunn and Hardman scored the goals.

The following day the Tigers booked a semifinal spot with a 3-2 win over Southland. It was goal-for-goal until the 48th minute when Kersten scored her second goal to send Tasman into the top four play-offs.

In Friday’s semifinal the Tigers played the Canterbury Barracudas. Tasman scored first, through guest player Ella Scratchard, but Canterbury came back and managed to take it to 1-1. Unfortunately, the shootout went in Canterbury’s favour, leaving Tasman to battle it out with Wairarapa for third and fourth position.

Again, a close match eventuated, Tasman going two goals behind in the first quarter before a penalty stroke converted by Kersten helped them back into the contest. Unfortunately, that was the extent of their recovery, meaning the Tigers finished a creditable fourth.

Kersten, with four goals, was equal top scorer for the tournament while Lunn, who scored three goals, was close behind. Overall, Tasman scored 14 goals, more than all the other sides.

Co-coach Denise Lloyd said, “the week was brilliant. It is so good for us to be there. We have been consistent in the top four almost every year. And it is really crucial for us to be represented there.

“The games came down to a couple of little moments which didn’t go our way. In the semifinal we were all over them at times and we just couldn’t put it in, their goalie kept them in the game.

“I am really proud of the girls, all of them. Matt [Hair] and I felt we played better than last year and we are improving, although we finished fourth again, I think the competition was tougher this year.”

Tasman player Eli Kepes makes ground at the nationals.

The Tasman men, also in tier two, notched an opening 1-0 win over South Canterbury on Sunday, Ollie King scoring the decisive goal in the first quarter.

On Monday they took on Otago and came away with a 2-1 victory. Sam Fitzgerald scored their first from a penalty corner after just 11 minutes, then Eli Kepes added a field goal in the third quarter. Otago bagged a consolation from a PC but could not stop Tasman making it two-from-two.

The Boars played North Harbour on Tuesday following a quick turnaround and went down 7-3 against a well-drilled unit. Toby Bowden, Daniel Beveridge and Jared Buckley scored Tasman’s goals.

On Wednesday they came up against Tauranga and lost 5-1, despite Beveridge scoring an early goal.

The Boars took on Taranaki on Thursday, losing in a shoot-out. Dean Hawley scored Tasman’s goal in regulation time, which finished 1-1 before the shoot-out, which ended 3-2 to the North Islanders.

They went on to a play-off for 7th and 8th on Friday against Counties Manukau, who came out firing, leading 3-0 at halftime. The Boars replied with two of their own but ultimately had to settle for eight.

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