When St. Bede’s College scored a late goal to beat Christ’s College in round two of the Connetics Secondary School Premier (SSP) competition, it showed they were going to be a real threat in the 2019 competition. Fast forward to round six, and Bede’s are still unbeaten as they head into a top of the table clash with St. Andrew’s College, the current competition front runners and Connetics Shield holders
Captain Joe Morrison has been a key player in the rise of St. Bede’s, who have appeared in only one SSP final, back in 2014 when current Black Stick David Brydon was in year 13. Morrison joined the team the year after, as a young skilful year nine, and is now the leader of the pack. He sees a lot of similarities from when he first joined the side, “Fundamentally the values are the same as when I was first being introduced into the team and these were passed down from some pretty outstanding players and people”, says Morrison, a central midfielder who is also joined by younger brother Charlie in the side.
2019 has started well for the side, with victories against Burnside High, Shirley Boys and Christ’s along with a hard-fought draw with Timaru Boys. Morrison has a clear idea of why this has been the case, “We have come into the season a lot better than last season, strength, skill and fitness wise. I think that this is due to the work we put in since the end of last season with gym and turf sessions, and also revisiting goals and team dynamics throughout the off season which has built a much stronger team culture among the team.”
Those goals are clear – they are in it to win it. “We are hoping the make the final and would love to win it”. While history is against them, there is a strong feeling around the grounds that the competition is anyone’s very much up for grabs.
Tonight’s match against St. Andrew’s will be a good benchmark for St. Bede’s, and Morrison knows what is at stake. “The boys are amped up for the game, however StAC are a classy side, with a lot of rep players, and the likes of Jamie Garbett at the back, so we are going to head into the game with nothing to lose and hopefully play to our potential, and let the result look after itself”.
St. Andrew’s have yet to be tested, with a perfect four from four record putting them at the top of the table.
“Whenever we are playing for St Bede’s there is evidence of grit and heart, I feel as though this has been an integral part of the team that has been passed through the years by the players before us. Hopefully we can show that again tonight” says Morrison, as Bede’s looks for their first every victory against St. Andrew’s in the local competition.
Christchurch Girls High and Villa Maria clash in tonight’s big girls clash, their first meeting since the bronze medal playoff at Federation Cup last year. Girls High have kept largely the same squad, while Villa Maria have a somewhat different look in 2019, with several key players having moved on. Both teams have shown good form early in the competition, as they occupy positions two and three on the table behind Rangi Ruru.
Grace Ansell and Georgie Leslie have been key to the Girls High play, dominating the midfield in the opening rounds. Villa will know they need to shut them down in order to give themselves a chance but will also need to be aware of the pace up front. Villa’s strikers found their range in front of goal in their last outing, and they will need to take that confidence into tonight’s match as both sides have attacking flair that could make for a high scoring encounter.
In the other girls matches, Rangi Ruru continue their shield defence against St. Andrew’s College, while Burnside High take on St. Margaret’s College.
With Timaru enjoying the bye week, Christchurch Boys play Shirley Boys and Christ’s College meets Burnside High in the boys matches.
Friday 7th June:
5.00pm St. Bede’s College vs St. Andrew’s College Nga Puna Wai 1
5.10pm Christchurch Girls’ HS vs Villa Maria College Nga Puna Wai 2
6.30pm Shirley Boy’s HS vs Christchurch Boys’ HS Nga Puna Wai 1
6.40pm Rangi Ruru GS vs St. Andrew’s College Nga Puna Wai 2
8.00pm Christ’s College vs Burnside High School Nga Puna Wai 1
8.10pm Burnside High School vs St. Margaret’s College Nga Puna Wai 2