The Super Eight Hockey Tournament was hosted by Rotorua Boys’ High School this year from the 2nd - 4th of August. The 1st XI went away to this tournament with high expectations after playing some great hockey leading up to this tournament.
This year, the 1st XI’s pool included Hamilton Boys’ High School, Hastings Boys’ High School, and Rotorua Boys’ High School. The format of Super Eight is three pool games on day one and two, followed by the two top teams of each pool playing a semifinal on the afternoon of day two. On day three, play-off matches are played to conclude the tournament.
The first match on Monday morning was against Hamilton Boys’ High School. PNBHS made a slow start to the game enabling Hamilton to capitalise early in the first quarter. Defensive lapses led to another goal being scored in the second corner leaving PNBHS 2 – 0 down at the halftime break. PNBHS knew that they would have to play some excellent “catch-up” hockey if they were to win the match. Although playing much better and not conceding any further goals, the 1st XI lost their first match 2 – 0.
This loss meant that the 1st XI had to win their next two pool matches if they were to make the semifinals. Monday afternoon’s match was against Rotorua Boys’ High School. Perry Smith opened the scoring as the team settled into their work. The second quarter opened up, allowing Blake Rhodes-Robinson to score twice before Tom Bayley found the net. Up 4 – 0 at halftime, the 1st XI wanted to score more goals in case goal difference was needed to secure a semifinal spot. Goals proved hard to come by, with only Blake Rhodes-Robinson scoring his hattrick goal in the match’s dying minutes. PNBHS won the match 5 – 0.
Tuesday morning saw old foes Hastings Boys’ High School meet the 1st XI for the first time this year. The match was extremely even, with both teams having chances to score. The excellent PNBHS defence kept Hastings scoreless. Ben Havord scored the match’s only goal in the third quarter from a penalty corner drag-flick. The 1 – 0 win meant that PNBHS would finish second in their pool and meet Napier Boys’ High School in the semifinal that afternoon.
The semifinal started as an even contest, with both teams holding possession of the ball. In a rather tense match, something had to give, which came through Napier being awarded a penalty stroke in the second quarter. The stroke was converted, giving Napier the advantage. Blake Rhodes-Robinson evened the ledger shortly after, in what was to be the only goal scored by the 1st XI. Napier managed to score two more goals before halftime giving them a 3 -1 lead. Again, the 1st XI was asked to play catch-up hockey in the second half. Unfortunately, Napier took control of the match as the 1st XI tired. Napier managed to capitalise despite a valiant effort by the 1st XI and scored three more goals in the second half, giving them a 6 -1 win. This loss was highly disappointing for the 1st XI after beating Napier 4 -2 earlier in the season.
The final match was against Hamilton Boys’ High School, who had lost their semifinal to eventual winners New Plymouth Boys’ High School. The match for third and fourth is always a tough ask, and this match was no different. The 1st XI fought hard, but things were not going their way. After holding them out in the first quarter, Hamilton scored twice in the second quarter leading into halftime. Will Roberts managed to peg a goal back in the third quarter. This goal eventually became a consolation for the 1st XI, as Hamilton scored three more goals winning the match 5 -1.
Although fourth was not where the 1st XI wanted to finish, the team gave it their all during the tournament and cannot be accused of giving up. The team can be proud of their efforts, both on and off the field. Due to COVID-19, the team will not be able to build on this experience with the Rankin Cup national tournament being cancelled.
The PNBHS 1st XI Hockey Team is Ben Havord (Captain), Blake Rhodes-Robinson (Captain), Connor Managh, Macca Williams, Perry Smith, Hael Pritchard, Flynn Underwood, Sam Bayley, Tom Bayley, Zach Carline, Solomon Kaihe, Carter Underwood, Carter Rhodes-Robinson, Josh Smit, Will Roberts, Riley Theobold, Tom Collier and Carter Fuldseth.
Thank you to all team members for your efforts throughout 2021. It is a huge disappointment that Rankin Cup has been cancelled for a second year, especially for those Year 13 students who will play their last game for PNBHS in the coming weeks. Thank you all for your service to PNBHS, and all the best for your future hockey aspirations.