Hockey teams practising hard

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YVONNE O’HARA

yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz

The Central Otago under-15 girls’ and boys’ representative hockey teams are practising hard for next month’s tournaments in Invercargill and Timaru, coach Michele Airey says.

Timaru would attract B-grade teams from throughout the country and there would be six teams in the Central Otago team’s pool, she said.

“They expect to play seven or eight games, so it is quite a busy schedule.”

The team has been together since the beginning of term 3 in mid-July.

“We have played practice tournaments, which was useful to encourage team bonding and cohesiveness.”

Airey was pleased with how well the season had gone to date, although it had its share of “ups and downs”.

They recently spent a few days competing in a mini-tournament in Oamaru, playing Southland and North Otago teams.

“We were wonderful against Oamaru and beat the Southland premier team and were really happy about how we did,” she said.

However, they did not do as well as they would have liked when they met Gore a couple of weeks later.

“While it is nice to win, losing is equally as important, as it shows the team where they need to improve, such as not warming up correctly or poor communication.”

Learning to lose gracefully was also an important part of the game.

“We are also going away to Timaru for this weekend for another mini- tournament and are going to play the likes of Canterbury or Otago or Mid Canterbury.”

They will meet different opponents, which will be another learning opportunity.

“It will also be a nice weekend for the girls and they can get to know each other better.”

The team fundraises the $800 per person they need to attend the Timaru tournament by running barbecues and selling raffles and Village Press Oils.

Airey was pleased to see an increased level of interest in the game for both the boys’ and girls’ teams, as it gave selectors a wider choice of players.

She was also grateful for the support from the community, the players’ parents and from the Central Otago Hockey Association.