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Wellington Squads impress at U18 Tournaments

Wellington U18 Women

The team had a very successful week at Nelson, finishing third after coming seventh at the tournament held in Wellington last year. They made no race of the bronze medal play-off against Canterbury 2 on Saturday afternoon winning 3-0. Captain Riana Pho scored from a penalty corner in the first half and from the field in the third quarter, while Sarah Jennings added a field goal in the third quarter.

They had finished top of their pool with wins over South Canterbury, Tasman and North Harbour 2. In their semi-final on Friday they met Hawkes Bay who had scored 24 goals in their five pool games. Tight defence at both ends meant there was no scoring in the first three quarters, then Hawkes Bay captain Hannah Findlay was successful at a penalty corner early in the fourth which proved to be the winner.

In the final, Canterbury 1 scored twice in the last five minutes to overcome Hawkes Bay 3-1, after the black-and-whites had been the first to score early in the second quarter.

Wellington’s leading goal-scorers were Riana Pho from Wellington Girls’ College, Rachel Duston from Queen Margaret’s College, and Kapiti College’s Mckaela Woodward with four each. Sarah Jennings from WGC scored three, while WGC’s Jessica Davenport and Mana College’s Keira Noble-Shedlock each scored one goal.

The team was coached by Bjorn Dix and Amy Robinson, and managed by Deb King.

Wellington U18 Men

The players and coaches would have felt slightly disappointed to finish tenth in their tournament held at Palmerston North after losing a shoot-out against Taranaki on Saturday morning in the play-off for ninth. At Hamilton in 2020 they had finished fifth equal after their final game was abandoned due to heavy rain.

This year they finished third on goal-difference behind Auckland in Pool C after losing to Auckland, drawing with North Harbour 2, and having good wins over Horowhenua and pool winners Otago. Auckland went on to finish sixth after losing the shoot-outs 8-7 in the playoff against Tauranga with the score being 1-1 at fulltime. Otago lost both their play-off games and finished fourth.

Wellington beat Bay of Plenty 3-1 in their cross-over game, with captain Suneel Patel scoring twice. In the play-off for ninth and tenth against Taranaki on Saturday morning they led 1-0 and then 3-1 before Taranaki scored their second goal in the third quarter and then equalised with just five minutes left.

Both teams were successful in their first two shoot-out attempts and unsuccessful with their next two. Wellington’s fifth attempt was blocked, and the fifth Taranaki player nailed his to take the shootouts 3-2 and finish in ninth place.

North Harbour won the tournament, beating Canterbury 4-3 in the final, after leading 4-0 at half-time.

Wellington’s leading goal-scorer was Rongotai College’s Suneel Patel with six, including a penalty stroke, followed by Ollie Bowmar from HIBS with three and Harbour City’s Logan Hewitt with two. Kapiti College’s Josh Dyer, Paraparaumu College’s Sean Moody and James O’Brien from Wellington College each scored once.

The team was coached by Alex Grey, William Zhou and Levi Loudon, and was managed by Emma Robinson and Rachel Farrant.

Check out all the scores and final standings from the 2022 Vantage National U18 Tournaments here.

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