The Katikati College boys’ Ultimate team has had another successful season. The group, who have been playing together for four years and coached by Peter Besley won the BOP Secondary Schools Championship held at Arataki on the 19th March, for the third year running.
Without any really strong competition at this tournament it was difficult to see how they would fare at the NZ Secondary Schools Championships held in Taupo the following week, especially considering that the tournament had been cancelled due to Covid-19 the year before. The NZSS Tournament sees over 20 teams from around New Zealand battling it out over two days. Each game is played for 50 minutes, although if a team scores 15 points before that time is up, the game ends. Under this tournament rules, when the hooter goes at 50 minutes the current point is played out and then a point is ‘added’ to the highest score and that becomes the score the teams have to play to. Most of the games the boys played went well beyond the 50 minutes with some crucial games going to ‘universal’ (golden) point. With only 8 players in the squad (most teams have 10-12 players) and having to play 4 games in a day, it was always going to be a big ask.
In a very tough pool (3 of the top 6 teams all came from this pool), the boys made it to the quarter finals – and had the winning of that game in their hand, only to fall short against eventual finalists, Shirley Boys College. A very disappointed team perked up when they were invited to play on the Sky Sport livestreamed field in the play-off for 5th and 6th, a game that they won on a universal point. Eventually finishing 6th , the team can be well proud of their efforts and have unfinished business for the nationals next year. Some of the boys head to Cambridge later this month in an effort to gain higher honours at the New Zealand Youth Ultimate Championship – good luck to Sean and Daniel Nicholson, Ayreton Hodson and Luke Spurr.