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Waicol set for local derby

Wairarapa College captain Wills Taylor on the ball against Scots College. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Jake Beleski

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Wairarapa College have two wins from as many matches in the Wellington region premier 1 boys’ hockey grading, but aren’t taking anything for granted ahead of this week’s derby match.

On Friday night, they will play Rathkeale College at Clareville, and another win would see them top pool A.

It is all the motivation the team will need to perform, as topping their pool would see them most likely avoid last year’s premier 1 champions, Wellington College, at the semi-final stage.

So far Waicol have beaten Paraparaumu College 5-3, and Scots College 1-0.

Coach Kerry Hare said Scots had employed a defensive game-plan, making it difficult to get the goals they were after.

“For want of a better term they parked the bus and had 11 players around the circle.

“We played well, we just couldn’t put it in the goal when we really needed to . . . but we got one, which is all you need to win by.”

The focus has now shifted to the clash with Rathkeale, and Hare said he was expecting a more expansive, free-flowing match against their local rivals.

“This Friday you’ll find that both us and Rathkeale play quite an expansive game.

“It’ll be all over the show . . . we love playing like that and so do Rathkeale.”

He said local derbies had always been tight over the years, and there was usually a decent crowd which helped to lift the atmosphere.

A win or draw would see Waicol top the pool no matter what happens in other results, and Hare was keen to ensure they clinched the top spot.

“Basically, we need to take points to win our side of the qualifying.

“That would put us into a semi-final, against most likely HIBS (Hutt International Boys’ School) or Rongotai, depending on other results.

“We don’t want to come second and play Wellington College in the semis.”

With only three Year 13s in their squad, Hare said they were aware this could be seen as a rebuilding season for his side, but they were determined to add to the success the school had enjoyed in previous seasons.

“For the last seven years, Wairarapa College has been in the top eight in New Zealand.

“We were second last year, so it is a rebuild but we’re building quite nicely at the moment.”

After the grading semi-finals and final, the team will play a full round robin against the other sides in the premier 1 division.

Friday’s match against Rathkeale starts at 7.30pm at the Clareville Complex.

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