Paraparaumu And St Matthew’s Claim Hockey Titles
The Wellington Premier hockey finals were contested on Friday night at the National Hockey Stadium in Newtown. Both matches were thrilling affairs with repeat success for a girls combatant and a new champion crowned in the boys decider.
Paraparaumu College are champions for the first time after a pulsating 3-2 triumph over Rongotai College. Paraparaumu won the match in extra time – scoring the winner with about 90 seconds left in the first additional period of five minutes. Following a pass which took a wicked deflection, Yannick Van Den Berg gently tapped the ball past Rongotai keeper Nicko Wright. The Paraparaumu skipper as left one on one with the hopelessly stranded goalie.
In a tussle where every possession was so frantically fought, it was almost surreal to see such a slow motion climax. Paraparaumu were on course to win in regulation. Two goals from Reece Gilden and Van Den Berg had them ahead 2-1. Rongotai had enjoyed the stronger start with Sajan Patel’s piercing runs forcing occasional Paraparaumu panic and a Tim McKibbin goal providing Rongotai with the initial lead.
Paraparaumu regrouped and had a chance to bury the contest at 2-1 when they failed to score from three successive penalty corners. With six minutes to spare Satish Cussins revived Rongotai hopes with an outrageous goal. Collecting a loose ball on the left side, Cussins muscled and weaved his way past four defenders before smashing an angled reverse stick shot into the top right corner.
It was a shame somebody had to finish second.
St Matthew’s Collegiate have successfully retained their title after a gusty 1-0 victory over Wellington Girls’ College. St Matthew’s defense was consistently under siege in the second-half, but an inspired display by keeper Natalie Austin was sufficient to claim championship honours for an eighth time. The only goal of the match came early in proceedings when Amy Wood alluded the grasp of Jabe Jones with a fierce reverse stick shot.
Wellington Girls’ relentlessly peppered the St Matthew’s goal in the second spell, but whatever they tried, the ball just wouldn’t go in. With 22 minutes remaining both Sorita Pho and Olivia Wills forced hurried kicks saves from Austin as St Matthew’s appeared to be wilting. Georgia Pacy and Claire McFetridge were resolute at the back for St Matthew’s, but failed to stop the constant barrage of attack near or inside the circle.
Willis went agonisingly close again with five minutes to go while Zara Beard was a menace on attack for Wellington Girls,’ creating many chances with her superior speed and stick control. Wellington Girls’ had no fortune from penalty corners and with three minutes left ditched Jones in a desperate, forlorn purist of an equaliser.