by St Paul's Collegiate School

Boys' 1st XI Football top last year at National Tournament

At the Lotto Premier National Tournament held in Napier, St Paul’s 1st XI boys’ football side was placed in Pool A, along with St Kentigern College (Auckland Champions), Otago Boys’ High School and Selwyn College. The aim was to repeat the heroics of last year and make it through to the top 16 in New Zealand.

Game One v Selwyn College

Selwyn looked to be a well-organised and disciplined team. However, St Paul’s outmuscled their opponents, winning most of the 50/50 challenges and took control of the game. St Paul’s had numerous scoring opportunities, but it took a decisive run and cross from George Ott, allowing Chris Skinner to deflect the ball into the net. A good win (1-0) and a great start to the tournament.

Game Two v St Kentigern College

St Paul’s went into this game as massive underdogs. However, 20 minutes in, it was St Paul’s that was dominating play, creating better goal-scoring opportunities. Alas, against the run of play, St Kent’s scored, and the tone of the game changed. St Paul’s struggled to maintain any possession. The fatigue of chasing the game hurt the team, with the result blowing out late. Final score St Paul’s lost 0-4.

Game Three v Otago Boys’ High School

A must-win game, St Paul’s pulled out arguably their best performance of the season. Right from the kick-off, St Paul’s dictated the pace of the game. We were simply too quick and strong on the ball for our opponents. The passing was crisp and direct, defensively the team was outstanding, and as the result shows (win to St Paul’s 4-0), the finishing was good, although if all opportunities were taken, the score could have been much higher.

Top 16 v Tauranga Boys’ College

Having lost to Tauranga Boys' College 2-1 earlier in the year, the game set itself to be a close affair. However, it was one of those games where everything TBC did, turned to gold. It ended up being a comprehensive loss (0-9) and most definitely St Paul’s lowest moment in the tournament. In the remaining three games, St Paul’s took on Scots College (1-3 loss), Napier Boys’ High School (1-3 loss) and Hastings Boys’ High School (7-6 win penalties) to finish 15th overall in New Zealand. 

 All things considered, a fantastic result and more importantly, one position better than last year! Most Valuable Player for St Paul’s was Callum Donlon.