First XI Boys' Hockey team Rankin Cup and India Shield Tournament report
The First XI Boys' Hockey team attended the Rankin Cup and India Shield tournament in North Harbour in the last week of August. St Paul's were drawn in a tricky pool consisting of King’s College, Christchurch Boys; High and Whanganui Collegiate School. The top two would advance to the top 16 in the country and compete for the Rankin Cup while the bottom two from pool play would play for 17th to 32nd place and the India Shield.
St Paul's vs. King’s College:
- A perfectly executed penalty corner from Javahn Jones (Year 13) gave St Paul’s the lead in the second quarter. Shortly after half time King’s equalised with a penalty corner goal of their own. Late in the fourth quarter, Thomas Scanlon (Year 13) capitalised on a penalty corner breakdown to give St Paul's a 2-1 lead. King's removed their goalkeeper in an attempt to chase a draw but St Paul's were able to hold them off winning 2-1.
Man of the match: Ben Urlich (Year 13)
St Paul's vs. Christchurch Boys' High School:
- An exciting first quarter saw Javahn Jones open the scoring again from a penalty corner. Shortly after, Christchurch Boys' equalised with their own penalty corner goal. Lachlan O'Neill (Year 13) then buried a stinging shot into the bottom corner to regain the lead for St Paul's. The second quarter saw goalkeeper Matthew Ruetsch (Year 13) make a big-time play saving a penalty stroke to hold onto the lead. Early in the third quarter, Ben Allen (Year 13)made a typically impressive run from the deep defence all the way to the attacking circle where Thomas Scanlon latched onto a loose ball and gave St Paul's a 3-1 lead. Christchurch Boys' clawed one back right before the last break of the game. Christchurch took their goalkeeper off in an attempt to chase a draw, but this only ended with St Paul's converting a penalty corner on full time to take the win 4-2.
Man of the match: Matt Ruetsch
St Paul's vs. Whanganui Collegiate
- With a spot in the top 16 confirmed, a win was needed to secure the top of the pool and a favourable opposition in the round of 16. A clinical start from St Paul's saw first-quarter goals from Lachlan O'Neill, Ben Spring (Year 12) and Cameron Bird (Year 13). Ben Allen extended the lead with a goal late in the third quarter. Whanganui Collegiate scored their first goal of the tournament early in the fourth before the game blew out with two goals from Qayde Wright (Year 11) and a second also for Ben Spring. Final score: 7-1.
St Paul's vs. Wellington College:
- In what was the scrappiest game of the week for the St Paul's boys, we managed to stay tight on defence. The game was tense, and the score remained locked at nil all until late in the fourth quarter. Despite having a player off from a green card, St Paul's launched an opportunistic attack that saw Thomas Scanlon bury a reverse in the bottom corner. Wellington took their goalkeeper off but was unable to find the equaliser before the final whistle.
Man of the match: Thomas Scanlon
St Paul's vs. Auckland Grammar (quarter-final):
- After knocking Hamilton Boys' High School out in their previous game, Auckland Grammar was coming after their second Hamilton school in two days. A well-executed penalty corner from Grammar put them up 1-0 and saw St Paul's go behind on the scoreboard for the first time in the week. The boys remained composed resulting in a penalty corner shortly later that Javahn Jones buried in the roof of the goal to restore parity. From this point, the game was a tense match-up. Late in the third quarter, defender Cameron Hopping (Year 13) strayed up the field and found himself free in the circle with the ball which he slotted past the keeper to give St Paul's a 2-1 lead with one quarter to go. Grammar threw everything at St Paul's defence and earned a penalty corner on the final whistle to give them one last chance to equalise and force a shootout. The first shot was initially defended but the ball fell to a Grammar player right in front of the goal. He was able to get a quality shot away but coming in the clutch was Matt Ruetsch who pull off the save of the week to give St Paul's the win and a place in the top four in New Zealand. Final score was 2-1.
Man of the match: Ben Allen
St Paul's vs. St Andrew's College (semi-final):
- Following up an incredible performance in the quarter finals, the semi-final was always going to be tough and with players starting to be heavily impacted by the fatigue of so many games in a week, the game was going to be about how smart the two teams could play. The St Paul's boys backed it up and evenly matched St Andrew's for the entire 60 minutes. A penalty corner in the first quarter gave St Andrew's the lead. St Paul's had a number of scoring chances but couldn't find a way past a solid defensive unit. St Andrew's managed a second penalty corner goal in the fourth quarter sealing our fate. Despite losing, it was a performance the boys could be proud of.
St Paul's vs. New Plymouth Boys' High School:
- For the seventh time in the week, St Paul's put in a performance to be proud of. Second-quarter goals to Cameron Bird and Owen Obaseki (Year 12) gave St Paul's a 2-0 lead at halftime. Partway through the third, Cameron Bird ripped a reverse into the roof of the goal to give St Paul's a three-goal advantage. New Plymouth fought back hard and found the back of the net on the stroke of three-quarter time. New Plymouth continued to press forward and with two minutes remaining scored their second goal of the game. However, St Paul's defence dug deep and held on to take the victory 3-2. St Paul's finished third in New Zealand and became the Bartholomew Cup holders following the win over New Plymouth who previously held the trophy. This was the second-best finish for St Paul's First XI Boys' Hockey team.