The St Paul's First XI Girls' welcomed nine hockey teams to the ANZAC girls tournament and all teams were treated to some of the finest autumn weather the Waikato region has ever produced. The hockey pavilion was also in full swing for the tournament with St Nil's cafe doing a roaring trade over the week.
On the pitch, the girls started on Wednesday playing the top Tauranga team, Bethlehem College. St Paul's took the lead with a well struck penalty corner from Josie Brown (Year 11). Bethlehem equalized in the second half and right on full time and Josie Brown was denied twice by some fantastic goalkeeping to keep the score 1-1.
Thursday morning, the girls matched up with a strong Rangitoto College side and produced a stellar defensive performance to keep Rangitoto scoreless. Frankie Muir (Year 12) had a strong game in goal as did Lucy O'Meeghan (Year 12) making some key defensive interventions. Unfortunately, the girls couldn't quite manage a goal at the other end and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
The afternoon match saw them take on local rivals Waikato Diocesan School for Girls. Despite a good performance, especially in the midfield from Evie Potter (Year 13), Gracie Potter (Year 11) and Renee Carey (Year 11), the girls couldn't find the net and were a bit unlikely going down 2-0.
Friday saw the girls take on two of the strongest teams in the tournament. A sloppy first half against King's College in the morning match saw them go into half time 3-0 down. Some strong encouragement at half time had the desired effect and the match was much more even in the second half. Gracie Potter scored a magnificent individual goal, evading several players before slotting home past the keeper. The match finished 4-1.
The final game was against New Plymouth Girls' High School. The girls started well and went into half time with the score locked at 0-0. The toll of five matches in three days started to tell in the second half, with the girls suffering a few defensive lapses. The final result was 3-0 to New Plymouth.
Despite not winning a match, the girls showed they are more than capable of competing against some very strong opposition. The tournament proved to be a very beneficial starting point for the season and the girls grew a lot as a team over the three days.
Special thanks to the support staff at St Paul's. The facilities staff worked tirelessly through the tournament as did the kitchen staff. There was a lot of positive feedback from the other teams about how lucky we are at St Paul's.