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Up and down tournament week

The winter sports season came to an end for most secondary school sports, with the Winter Sports Tournament Week last week. Although Wairarapa teams failed to win any major tournaments, there were some credible results along with some disappointments, including a shock relegation.

Wairarapa College finished a meritorious 11th of 32 teams in a strong A Grade at the Lower North Island Netball Championships in Kilbirnie, Wellington.

Waicol qualified for the top 16 after finishing second in their first-round pool with two wins and a loss but were confined to the ninth to 16th section with three losses in the second phase of pool play. They then finished second in their phase three pool setting up a semifinal with Manukura, which they lost 42–17. Waicol completed their program with a 34–26 defeat of Sacred Heart Lower Hutt.

St Matthew’s will join Waicol in the top division next year after finishing runners-up in the B Grade.

St Matt’s were unbeaten in the three phases of pool play, with seven wins and two draws, to qualify for a semifinal with Upper Hutt College. A 34–28 win guaranteed promotion and a place in the final against Dannevirke High School, who proved too strong, taking a 36–26 victory.

Mākoura College finished 15th, beating Ōtaki College 29–26 in their final playoff, while Kuranui College defeated Nga Tawa 32–28 for 25th place.

St Matt’s were the best performed of the four teams in the top tier national tournaments, with 11th at the Federation Cup girls’ tournament in Christchurch, but the big shock came with the relegation of three-time champions Waicol.

St Matt’s qualified for the top 16 with an unbeaten record in their pool, which also included Waicol. They narrowly missed a quarterfinal spot, losing their round of 16 knockout match with St Peters Cambridge 5–4 in a shootout after the game had finished at 2–2. A 5–0 win over Taradale High School and a 3–2 loss to Lincoln High School confined St Matt’s to the 11th-12th playoff, which they comfortably won 4–1.

For the first time in the 30-year history of the Federation Cup, Waicol, champions in 2005, 2011 and 2014, will miss the 2024 tournament after finishing 27th of the 32 teams, with the bottom six relegated to the second tier. Waicol failed to win in pool play and were confined to the bottom 16 Marie Fry Trophy. A 1–0 win over Samuel Marsden College gave them some hope of avoiding the drop, but the following 2–0 loss to Whangārei Girls High School confirmed Waicol’s exit.

Waicol fared better at the boys’ Rankin Cup in Wellington, finishing 16th. After winning two of three games in pool play, Waicol failed to win in the knockout stage, although they came close to making the ninth-12th place, losing a shootout 4–3 to Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ruamata after the game had finished 1–1.

Rathkeale suffered the same fate as the Waicol girls and were relegated to the second tier for 2024 after finishing 29th. Rathkeale failed to win until their 29th–32nd playoffs, which confirmed their relegation. They finished their campaign with two 3–1 wins over St Paul’s Collegiate and Rangitoto College.

The Kuranui College boys and girls teams finished on the podium at the Lower North Island tournaments in Levin. The boys finished runners-up to Taikura Rudolf Steiner School [Hastings], losing a hotly contested final 3–1 in a shootout after the scores were locked at 3–3 at fulltime. The girls were third in their tournament, comfortably winning their playoff 5–1 over Karamu High School from Hastings.

The Waicol First XV came away with victory from their quadrangular tournament played in Paraparaumu. Waicol defeated Paraparaumu College 26–10 and Dannevirke High School 31–0 to set up a virtual final with Hutt Valley High School.

In a tightly fought battle, Waicol ran out a deserved 32–26 victory and wrapped up a satisfying season, which included a sixth placing in the Wellington first XV premier competition.

Rathkeale finished 31st of 32 teams at the Boys Premier Tournament in Christchurch. The signs looked encouraging for Rathkeale in pool play, where they recorded a 2–1 win over Christ’s College. A narrow 1–0 loss to Napier Boys High School and a penalty shootout loss [8–7] after a 3–3 draw with St Thomas College left Rathkeale playing for pride. Their final game with Timaru Boys High School finished 1–1, but this time they had the better of the penalty shootout, winning 5–4.

Waicol were ninth and Kuranui 15th at the Trident satellite Tournament in Whanganui. Waicol finished with a record of four wins, a draw, and two losses, completing their tournament with a 4–1 defeat of Katikati College. Kuranui had three wins and four losses, finishing with a 2–0 win over Havelock North High School.

In the Grant Jarvis Girls Tournament in Palmerston North, Waicol beat Whanganui Collegiate 2–1 for 13th place, Kuranui had a 4–1 win over St Peter’s-Freyberg for 15th, and Solway College were 6–1 victors over Iona College to finish 17th.

Wairarapa wrestlers returned with two gold medals and a silver from the NZ Secondary School Wrestling Championships in Auckland.

Kuranui’s Duncan Alloway took championship honours in the under-15 100kg class, Rathkeale’s Tommy Read was successful in the under-15 38kg class, and Angus Read, also from Rathkeale, was runner-up in the senior 55kg class.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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