Capital Gains at NZSS Handball Nationals
Wellington’s dominance of secondary school handball is best illustrated by the fact six of the seven competing schools at the Nationals were from the capital.
Christchurch’s Cashmere High School threatened to spoil Wellington’s monopoly on the boy’s trophy though when they thrashed Scots College 41-20 to qualify for the final.
However a flurry of goals at the beginning of the second-half was good enough for St Pat’s Town to claim honours 24-20.
The climax proved to be a gripping tussle where Town never lost the lead, but were pushed hard for the whole hour by the stubborn southerners.
Dangah-Lee Chong Nee, Paul Ireland and Lucas Graham O’Connor got Town off to a sizzling start by scoring three goals inside the first two minutes.
It took Cashmere nine minutes to open their account, but their joy was short-lived as Town piled on four quick goals to build a 7-1 lead.
Town seemed to lose composure at this point. Two players were yellow carded and Cashmere was able to draw level. Angus Hamilton was outstanding collecting three goals and creating an additional two.
The last minute of the first-half was genuinely thrilling with Ireland finding the back of the net to push Town ahead 8-7. Hamilton equalised for Cashmere, but with 22 seconds left Anton Juan weaved through traffic to make it 9-8 to Town.
Town scored five of the next six goals and this was the winning of the match. Boston Christie riffled in two shots and lobbed the opposing keeper with a deft touch while Graham O’Connor was busy, creative and penetrating in front of goal.
Cashmere never gave up, but were always chasing as Town always seemed to find goals at crucial times.
Lee Chong Nee finished as the leading scorer in the tournament and sneered five in the finale as did Hamilton for Cashmere. Riley Flanagan was a multiple scorer and earnest contributor for Cashmere.
In the girls event Wellington East Girls’ College defeated St Mary’s College 16-11 in the final. WEGC had won both their pool matches against St Mary’s 17-14 and Wellington Girls’ 32-19, the other two schools in the female tournament.
Tamara Baker from WEGC was the leading goal scorer with 21. Her teammate Georgia Bell collected 12 and Paris Tuimasseve-Fox from St Mary’s bagged nine.