Hockey seeks to capitalise on its success

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Double trouble . . . Ben Chorley (Mighty Ducks) is tackled by the Orchard twins Kimberlea and Georgyna with the All G Fam Squad.PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

The Rangiora Hockey Club has begun planning for the 2019 winter season as it looks to capitalise on the success of last season by growing its depth across all grades.

After several years of rapid expansion, the club is not expecting to increase its number of teams next year, but is looking for more players at all age levels to consolidate its base to ensure teams can continue to find success as players move up through the grades and older players retire.

After the club’s senior men’s team won the Canterbury Hockey Association 2018 division-2 competition, it has applied to enter division 1 for the first time in many years.

To be successful in this higher grade, the team will need to ensure it can maintain a balance of young talent coming through as well as experiencedolder players.

At the same time, Rangiora’s champion division 1 women’s team is expected to lose several of its more experienced players this coming year, so both teams will be looking to bring young players up from lower grades as well as attracting some quality players from outside the club ranks.

Evasive action . . . Sean Cooper, right playing for Mighty Ducks, seeks to avoid Kevin Orchard of the All G Fam squad. Photo: Supplied

The Rangiora Hockey Club will also be looking to develop and recruit additional coaching talent in the coming year.

With senior women’s coach Craig Reynalds looking to step down at the end of the season, the club intends to appoint his eventual replacement as soon as possible so they have time to work together to ensure a smooth transition.

The senior men’s teams have also been operating with “player-coaches” which, while successful, is less than ideal, so are looking to recruit some dedicated coaching personnel for 2019.

Any experienced people interested in helping the club with playing, coaching, or umpiring should contact the Rangiora Hockey Club.

Meanwhile the last pre-Christmas rounds of summer hockey were completed this week.

In the Canterbury Masters competition, the Waimak 1 team finished second in the women’s competition, with the team’s only loss coming against Hornby.

The Waimak 2 team had a tougher time of it, only able to secure one win for the season, but it competed well against some more skilled and experienced opposition.
The Rangiora Men’s masters team were unexpectedly promoted to division 1 this year for the first time, but rather than being outclassed the team performed well to finish 5th out of 8 teams in the grade.

The team’s last game was a play-off for 5th and 6th against HSOB/Burnside at the MainPower Hockey Turf in Rangiora, where the side started the game with just nine players and missing some key play-makers.

Despite being outnumbered, the team was pleased to only trail by one goal at half time and, with full numbers on the pitch, the side was able to apply more pressure to the Burnside defence in the second half, with several chances to equalise going begging.

It wasn’t until inside the last two minutes that Craig George was able to score his second goal of the night to finish with a 2-all draw.

The Rangiora Hockey Club has also been running its Summer Social 6-a-side Competition on Monday nights, with seven teams entered.

Most teams in this competition have a wide age range of players, giving adults and children a rare opportunity to play alongside each other in a competitive but fun and supportive environment. As a result of this, younger players are showing marked skill improvements from competing alongside and against older ones over several weeks, which will certainly help them when they return to their age-group competitions for the winter season.

The final of the summer social competition saw the Village Idiots take on the Stingers.

The two teams drew during round robin, but Stingers pulled off a victory to win the 2018 competition. The next round of Summer Social Hockey will begin in early February 2019.