Wellington’s Kensway Men’s side had made it into the top four after beating Waikato and Manawatu, and then had to beat Auckland on Tuesday afternoon to finish top of their Pool. Auckland scored after just five minutes when Malcolm Curley struck from close range after good lead-up play. They doubled their lead six minutes into the second quarter after attacking down the right-hand side and a diving Daniel Easton was on hand to push home the cross.
The third quarter belonged to Wellington with Sajan Patel scoring early after a penalty corner variation had broken down, then captain Dane Lett drove in the equaliser from a penalty corner with the last hit of the stanza.. No goals were scored in the fourth quarter and the Pool A winner was to be decided by shoot-outs.
These were won by Wellington 3-1 with Liam Mortimer, Jordan Cohen and Benedict van Woerkom being successful with their attempts, while in-form goal-keeper Will Zhou thwarted three Auckland attempts.
The extra point earned by Wellington meant they finished top of Pool A and they will play Pool B runners-up and old rivals Canterbury on Thursday.
The Wellington Quinovic Wellington side were out of contention for the top four but gave a good account of themselves in their final Pool game on Tuesday evening. Unbeaten Canterbury were first on the board in the second quarter when former US College star Anna Willocks scored from a penalty corner, but Wellington drew level shortly after half-time with a field goal to Hutt United’s Jess Kelly.
It was still 1-1 with ten minutes to play, but a second goal to Willocks and one to 18-year-old Tessa Reid two minutes later, both from penalty corners, gave the Cats a handy lead. Recent Commonwealth Games representative Aniwaka Haumaha was on hand to score Wellington’s second goal in the final minute, but it did not change the result.
On Thursday afternoon Wellington will meet Hawkes Bay who finished third in the other Pool, their only win having been a narrow one over Otago.