U18 hockey teams return

SHARE

South Canterbury is back in the game, representing the district in hockey at last week’s National Under-18 Women’s Association Tournament for the first time in 13 years.
The team, which came 10th, was one of 16 which battled it out in Timaru last week, marking a milestone for Hockey South Canterbury.
Tournament administrator Amanda Everett said it was pleasing to see South Canterbury represented at the event following a hiatus — a problem which went in cycles.
‘‘We’ve really struggled . . . every year we’ve tried to get a team and not been able to do it.’’
She said the problem was not just among South Canterbury’s under-18 women, but also under-18 men. Many in that age group were leaving the area to go to another school or to university. Some had entered the workforce and could not commit as much time to the sport as they once had.
Combining with teams from a neighbouring district was not ideal and had its challenges, she said.
‘‘It’s always nice to go totally South Canterbury. And we’re really hopeful that next year we’ll be able to do both teams again,’’ she said.
South Canterbury last had teams for under-18 men and women in 2003 before it joined with Mid Canterbury in 2004.
From 2004 to 2012, both the under-18 squads were a combined Mid-South Canterbury team.
‘‘There’s a lot of work [that] goes into getting both [men and women’s] teams back up and running [and] that’s been a focus of ours for the past couple of years,’’ Mrs Everett said.
Establishing a team while playing host to the national under-18 women’s tournament added to the pleasing outcome, she said.
Two South Canterbury hockey players, Jono Ellis and Sam Taylor, were selected for the national under-18 men’s regional team and, for the second consecutive year, a South Canterbury under-18 men’s squad has competed at the national tournament.
– Manawatu won the national women’s tournament, beating Canterbury 1-0.