Play-offs commence in the Vantage U18 National Tournaments

Two Canterbury teams have emerged as semi-finalists in the Vantage National Under-18 Women’s tournament while the men’s competition is too close to call as we head into the play-offs today.

In the men’s tournament in Palmerston North, twenty teams have been competing for the Paul Ackerley Memorial Trophy – named after the 1976 Olympic gold medallist and former Black Sticks women’s coach who passed away in 2011 after a short illness.

In the first semi-final, Canterbury will face Waikato today at 2.15pm after both teams came through pool play undefeated.

North Harbour will play Otago in the other semi-final as North Harbour also came through pool play unscathed. After a loss in their final pool game, Otago will be looking to come out strong and upset the defending champions. Harbour’s Rocco Ludolph will hope to add to his impressive tally of 9 goals so far in the tournament when the match kicks off at 4pm today.

Meanwhile in the women’s tournament in Nelson, Canterbury have showcased their strength at age-group level with both representative teams making the semi-finals. There will be no all-Canterbury final however, as Canterbury 1 and Canterbury 2 have been drawn to face each other in today’s second semi-final, kicking off at 3pm this afternoon.

In the days first semi-final, Hawke’s Bay will face last year’s hosts Wellington at 1.15pm in what promises to be an exciting match-up. Hawke’s Bay’s Emily Brun has been outstanding in front of goal this week while the team also features three sisters – Greer, Emma, and captain Hannah Findlay. Wellington will call on the experience and leadership of their captain Riana Pho as they look to book their spot in tomorrow’s final.

The draw for the women’s tournament is here, and the draw for the men’s is here.

If you’re in Nelson or Palmerston North, make sure you get down to the turfs to check out all the action today and tomorrow.

To watch the CelloSport coverage of all matches, visit the Hockey New Zealand YouTube channel here.

Posted on Thursday, 14 July, 2022 | CommunityFeature