Our mixed hockey team exceeded all expectations at the North Island Mixed Hockey Tournament by finishing third losing to eventual winners Huanui in the semi final.
Last year the team only won one game and finished 8th and in their first tournament in 2014 they finished 10th. With a lot of the players having played 2 or 3 tournaments there was a real sense that the team had a good chance of improving on their previous standings.
As a couple of teams had withdrawn from the tournament the team had a chance to warm up with a friendly game against Henderson High School and won convincingly 6-0. This gave them confidence going into their first pool game where they beat St Peters College, Palmerston North 12-0. Unfortunately in that game Casey Norman the captain suffered what turned out to be broken fingers and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament. The team knew that a draw against Te Aroha would give them top spot due to their superior goal difference and came back from behind twice to secure top spot.
In the quarter final against Waitara High School there was another 6-0 victory which set up a semi-final with Huanui college, Whangarei. Huanui had also been unbeaten and scored within the first minute before Blair Thornton (leading Newlands goalscorer with 8) pulled Newlands level after 4 minutes. Huanui then scored 3 further goals before half time. In the second half the team played much better but went away with a 5-1 loss. The game was also notable for Casey Norman making a brave attempt to play despite his broken fingers.
The team put the disappointment of the loss aside and finished strongly in the Bronze medal game against defending champions Lytton High School. Casey Norman opened the scoring but at half time it was 1-1. In the second half, Newlands scored 2 without response to finish 3rd.
Oscar Harris was named the Newlands MVP for the tournament.
Click here to see the tournament statistics
These performances were a great achievement for the players and thanks to Bill, Ian, Bex, Mark, Ms King and Mr Witts for their support at the tournament.
Bring on 2017 for hopefully first place!