Hockey on fire
12 Sep 2017
The Hockey 1st XI have capped off a hugely successful season by being crowned national champions after winning the Rankin Cup final against Christchurch Boys’ High School.
In a hard fought match, the score was nil-all at full time and remained that way after two periods of drop off extra time, first with 9 vs 9 players and then with 7 vs 7 players.
The game then went to a penalty shoot-out, which College won 2–1 thanks to goals from Nick Lidstone and Henry Phelps and some brilliant saves by goalie Louis Beckert.
Captain Llewey Heale says they had played some really strong teams throughout the season and were well prepared in the lead-up to the competition. They were aiming for a place in the top eight and, with seven games over six days, worked hard for the win.
The tournament took place in Hamilton from Sunday 3–Saturday 9 September. The week began with a 10–0 win over Mt Albert Grammar and a 5–1 win over Rathkeale College, before the only loss of the week (3–1) to King’s High School. Despite the loss, College still qualified for the top 16 knockout stage, where they had a 4–1 win over Wairarapa College, a 4–1 win over Paraparaumu College in the quarter final, and a 1–0 win over King’s College in the semi-final.
The team has a lot of experience, with nine players having played more than 50 games for the 1st XI – including Llewey, who has played 113 games for the team. Experienced players are an asset, but every member of the squad had the opportunity to step up, and Llewey says the team’s strength lies in teamwork. “We play a team oriented style of hockey,” says Llewey. “Practising our team skills over and over and relying on the strength of the whole, rather than on individuals.”
That said, Llewey describes Henry Phelps, Nick Lidstone and Louis Beckert as the standout players of the tournament. Nick and Louis are currently New Zealand U18 development players.
The hard work and commitment of coaches Chris Goldsbury and Joe Bartholomew is a key driver in the team’s success. Their strategic approach, excellent coaching and meticulous pre-game planning and post-game analysis helped give College the edge.
The Rankin Cup was the team’s third major win this year. In the pre-season, they travelled to Melbourne and won the Melbourne Grammar School international tournament. They also won the Canterbury Schools Premier League, beating St Andrew’s College in a final that also went to a penalty shoot-out.
Llewey says winning the Rankin Cup has been an unforgettable way to end his College hockey career and finish the season. He is proud to be part of such a special moment in the history of College hockey, knowing that this is only the second time the 1st XI has won the national title. The first time was back in 1991.
Hockey 1st XI
Llewey Heale (captain)
Henry Phelps (vice-captain)