It’s an action packed evening of hockey at Nga Puna Wai as the Connetics Secondary School Premiership (SSP) reaches the semi final stage.
Rangi Ruru and St. Margaret’s clash for the third time in fifteen days as the do battle in the first girls semi final. Rangi Ruru should be full of confidence, with an aggregate of 6-0 over the past two matches to go along with their victory earlier in the season.
St. Margaret’s will be looking to brush off their tournament hangover after coming away with the spoils at the recent South Island tournament, but will need to find something extra against a team that has had it over them all season long.
The teams are no strangers to big matches, having met in two of the last three finals, but only one will progress this evening. St. Margaret’s have an incredible record to protect, having not missed a local final in over two decades,.
The second semi final has the top ranked Christchurch Girls taking on Villa Maria College, with Girls High unbeaten through their 10 matches in the regular season. Having fallen at this very stage last year, Girls High will want to be at their best as they seek a second finals appearance in three years.
Villa Maria have battled their way through the season, qualifying in fourth position, but are only one win away from making it through to the final for the first time since they last won the title back in 2016. While they might be the underdogs, it’s well known knockout hockey doesn’t always follow the form guide.
The boys semi finals are as wide open as the Wallabies defence during the Bledisloe Cup, and all four teams a serious chance of coming out on top.
St. Bede’s College are seeking their second consecutive spot in the big dance as they clash with St. Andrew’s College, a team that are as up and down as the chair lift at Mt. Hutt. Bede’s are a formidable side, and will want to send Japense import Kazuki Yanamoto off on a high, who plays his last game for the school this evening.
St. Andrew’s College are still smarting from a disappointing South Island tournament, finishing outside the top eight and looking to salvage the season with strong performances over the final two weeks.
Christ’s College and Christchurch Boys are two teams with a lot to prove, College heading into the playoffs as the number one ranked team, while Boys High were the top local side from the South Island tournament.
Both teams play an attractive brand of hockey, and the battle through the midfield could well be the difference, with some people comparing the battle between Charlie Swan and Kyle Houston to that of Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga in this weekend’s Ranfurly Shield match.
5.00pm: Rangi Ruru GS v St. Margaret’s College (NPW 1)*
6.20pm: Christchurch BHS v Villa Maria College (NPW 1)*
7.50pm: Burnside HS v St. Andrew’s College (NPW 2)
5.10pm: Timaru BHS v Shirley BHS (NPW 2)
6.30pm: St. Bede’s College v St. Andrew’s College (NPW 2)*
7.40m: Christ’s College v Christchurch BHS (NPW 1)*