Posted on September 29, 2021 at 1:59 p.m.
The Poverty Bay men’s and women’s hockey champions for 2021 will be crowned over the next three days, and all four finals have quality written throughout.
Covid-19 has forced hockey administrators to radically restructure their playoffs and finals to comply with restrictions on gatherings.
The number of spectators will be limited for the games, but the titles will still be online.
The number will be limited to 100 per match, including players and supporters.
Paikea and Waituhi start the ball rolling tomorrow night at 6.30pm on the Hain Farming Turf at the Harry Barker Reserve to decide on the Senior Women’s Championship (B Grade).
“Paikea is one of the favorites, but having some playoff time last week will have helped Waituhi,” said hockey commentator Tony Scragg.
“Paikea has had the muscle on them in every game they’ve played this season, but the Waituhi fans will be right behind their team tomorrow night.
“They will try to surprise their team.
“But I think Paikea will come with the goods. After all, they were so close to making the top four in the women’s competition.
Friday night, again at 6:30 p.m., GMC Green and YMP meet to decide on the women’s title (A Grade).
“YMP are unbeaten this season and have to be the big favorite to win the women’s championship,” said Scragg.
“They’re undefeated, but they had a draw this season and it was with GMC Green, so that will be on their minds.
“However, the pressure is still mounting for the team defending the title, and it’s the Green Machine.
“If they want to challenge YMP on Friday night, they’ll have to start over like they played in the second half against Girls’ High in the semifinals last week.
“I think YMP will take it, even though they haven’t played for five weeks. I think they will be too strong.
The men will take the start on Saturday afternoon, with Waituhi and Lytton Old Boys Masters leading the senior men’s final (grade B) from 12:30 pm.
“Waituhi will want to add to the silverware they’ve already picked up this season, after winning the Covid Cup,” Scragg said.
“They’ve beaten the Masters every time they’ve met this year, 9-0 the last time around.
“So it’s going to be a high mountain for the Masters to climb. . . the Everest Challenge came early for them.
“But if the Masters get full numbers we have seen in the past that they are capable of upsetting.”
Saturday at 3:30 p.m., the season ends on a high, with Lytton Old Boys NZ Fruits and YMP clashing to decide the first men’s championship (A Grade).
“I can’t think of a better game to end our season,” said Scragg.
“The Fruits have beaten YMP every time they’ve met this year, but they’ll be wary of a YMP team that had such a good run against Boys’ High last week.
“By all accounts, YMP will have a full strength squad on Saturday which will be the first time this year that they have had everyone on deck.”
Scragg said he thinks the game is too hard to call anyway.
“But that said, I would love to see the Fruits come true because of the way they have played this season. They deserve the victory and the title.
“It’s so good for the game here to see them come back as a competitive team.
“Good luck to all the teams for the final.”
KEEN CONTEST: YMP’s Lucy McHugh (left) is up for the challenge as Waituhi’s Kristi Brown puts her stick to the ball in women’s club hockey. Waituhi will face Paikea in the Senior Women’s Final tomorrow, and YMP will face GMC Green in the Senior Women’s Final on Friday. File photo by Liam Clayton