Vaughan Hilton reporting for Waikato Hockey:
In the opening match of Round Two of the Waikato Premier Hockey competition the battle for bragging rights of the two Tech women’s sides simply named Tech White and Tech Blue ended with the honours shared. As anticipated the match was closely fought with Blue holding the slender half time advantage 2-1 through goals to Amy Williams and Nicki O’Donnell with a reply from White’s Imogen Neal. Tech White rallied and deservedly equalized through Shiloh Gloyn to share the points.
Ecolab Te Awamutu and Hamilton Old Girls were both looking to redeem themselves after suffering first round losses. Te Awamutu’s rising young star Neve McLean had a solid first half and was rewarded with the only goal of the half. Quick thinking from Toni Vickers who auto passed a free hit on attack, found space to penetrate the circle and rifled in the equalizer for Old Girls. Like the earlier match both sides exchanged periods of dominance and were equally matched throughout, but with seconds left Old Girls Honor Young snatched the 2-1 win to give her side the maximum points.
In the final women’s match Storage King University continued their impressive start to the season bolstered by the services of new Black Stick Brooke Neal. Unlike last week when it took a quarter of the game to open the scoring Uni’s Natasha Jacques broke through McWhannell Roofing Suburbs defense in the opening minute. Kate Southee extended the students advantage but a determined Suburbs outfit rocked their more fancied opponents when Gabrielle Gardiner snatched onto a quick break out to find space to beat the keeper in a one on one. Emma Andrews restored the advantage as the students upped the tempo of the game and fired in a further three first half goals to Black Stick pairing Brooke Neal and Cat Pollock with Olivia Scotland rounding out the half time 6-1 lead. Andrews added to her first half conversion with a second half hat trick with Kim Tanner and Libby Bird completing a comprehensive 11-1 victory. The students paid tribute to the never give up attitude of the Premier newcomers Suburbs with Kate Mahon, Hayley Oulton and Julena Phillips all impressive despite the heavy loss.
In the Premier Men’s matches CBD University Prem’s dominated their Admore Promotions University Reserves side in an 8-1 win. Jitesh Sima led the scoring and proved an excellent alternative PC option converting three of four PC attempts whilst Craig Hardman still proving efficient in nailing both drag flick opportunities he took. Abir MuherAberjee, Kyle Westerman and Gourav Correa completed the scoring. The Prem side led their Reserves 4 nil at the break and a late strike to Admor’s Laurens Steytler provided some consolation.
Aber Hamilton Old Boys Aidan Sarikara continued to impress securing a hat trick in Old Boy’s 9-2 win over Ecolab Te Awamutu. Player coach Lloyd Stephenson again dominated the midfield possession and found any unmarked players with accuracy and guile. Alex Wood eventually opened the scoring with a brace and Simon Miles tapped in from close range to open the game up. Old Boys used the width and depth of the field with good effect and ran the youthful Te Awamutu side around the park. Again Old Boys post 6 different scorers with Leo Wells and Stephenson finding the net. Te Awamutu gave their all throughout and were aptly rewarded with two late goals to Rhys McLachlan and Patrick Wilson.
CKL Suburbs lack of finishing again haunted them throughout their match up against Fraser Tech and conceded an early own goal ( FIH introducing a rule change allowing shots touched by any player inside the circle finding the goal counting as opposed to only attacking players in past seasons). Nick Woods grabbed a brace for Tech with Zac Woods, Matt Taylor, and Jimmy Linehan also converting in Tech’s 6 nil win. The win see’s Tech join Old Boys and CBD Uni at the top of the table with the three sides having scored 49 goals between them in the opening two games.