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First final, first title

Featherston’s Janine Reid, left, and East Coast’s Abby Crawley lock sticks during the division one final. Photo/Chris Kilford.

By Gary Caffell
Little wonder East Coast player-coach Justine Robertson was ecstatic with her team’s 4-1 win over Featherston in the final of the Wairarapa division one women’s competition last Saturday.
It was East Coast’s very first appearance in a division one final and to secure the title in such convincing fashion was a huge result.
Robertson always had the belief East Coast had the potential to create its own slice of history in 2016 and is quick to pay tribute to both the talent and enthusiasm of her mainly young squad,, all but three of whom are still at college with four of them aged just 13.
“All these youngsters have come a long way this season, they’ve really stepped up to the mark”
Promoting youth is a big part of the East Coast hockey philosophy with Robertson saying the opportunity to play at a higher level gave them the chance to develop and build their skills. And with all this season’s players likely to be wear the East Coast colours again next year she has high hopes they can successfully defend their title in 12 months’ time.
Much as East Coast’s win deserves headline treatment the effort of Featherston to make the final was a noteworthy one as well. The southerners certainly made a decent game of it throughout most of the first half with East Coast’s two goals coming in the last three minutes of that period, both to Taylah Robinson after the very much in-form Katie McAnulty had pierced the Featherston defence.
The early stages of the second spell also saw Featherston make most of the running and when they scored a goal to make it 2-1 it was clearly anybody’s game. However, with keeper Bridey Kiernan setting the standard the East Coast defence held further Featherston attacks at bay and it was East Coast who dominated the final stages, McAnulty scoring two goals to give them their 4-1 victory.
Meanwhile, a host of Dalefield players have been included in the Capital men’s and women’s hockey teams for the 2016 national leagues, hardly a surprise considering Dalefield won both Wellington premier division interclub titles.
In the Capital men’s team, which are the defending national league champions, are Dane Lett, Benedict van Woerkom and Rowan Yeo while included in the women’s squad are Kelsey Linton, Brigette Mossman, Katherine van Woerkom, Michael O’Connor and Morgan Percy.

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