Tough start for Mount women's hockey debut

By Martin Lang

A thumping victory would be the perfect debut for Mount Maunganui as the club launch into the Midland women's intercity competition tomorrow.
Taking on Te Awamutu at Hamilton's Gallagher Hockey Centre, though, the fledgling Mount team can chalk up one achievement in simply putting a competitive line-up on the park.
The first women's intercity side in the club's 35-year history, the newcomers will be without key personnel due to summer sport commitments, coach Alan Galletley says.
Assembling a team for the season, Galletley has drawn on women new or returning to the region, and some members travel from Waihi, Matamata, Whakatane and Putaruru.
"We haven't roped in any big stars, but good steady players with the potential to really lift their game with this opportunity," he said.
One who has switched allegiance - from back-to-back champions Otumoetai - to the Mount is centre half Sam Savory. A Midlands under-21 rep last year, she's likely to play a vital role.
Another strong prospect taking the field tomorrow is back Melissa Watkins, returned from Otago to her hometown Whakatane. Frances Peat, a longtime Auckland age-group rep now based in Matamata, is also in the side at inside forward.
Unavailable for the debut match due to family sport commitments but a sure-fire playmaker this season is former Black Sticks mainstay and evergreen midfielder Sue Furmage. Otumoetai College girls' 1st XI captain Emma Jackson will also miss the game, instead competing at the North Island secondary schools athletics championships.
"We know we'll struggle a bit to start with, we just want to see the team find its feet and develop," Galletley says.


"It's about boosting Tauranga's presence in intercity, and giving more talent from the area the chance to step up."
The match hits off at 10.30am, part of an opening-day programme that sees all fixtures played at the Hamilton venue.
Otumoetai begin their quest for a title hat-trick with a 1.40pm clash against Onewhero-Pukekohe, who like Te Awamutu finished mid-table last year.
Otumoetai captain Katrina Carson says the return of striker Jol McGarvey after several seasons' absence is a major fillip for the team, which retains most of last year's high-powered line-up.
With McGarvey rejoining sister Tambra and bustling striker Dani Maunder up front, Otumoetai look well armed for a threepeat - something a 6-1 preseason trumping of the Rotorua Aces last week underlined. "There's definitely pressure on us [as champions] but that's also making us more hungry to ... do it again," Carson says.
Tomorrow's round one games:
Men: Thames Valley v Onewhero Pukekohe, Fraser Tech v Cosmopolitan Otumoetai, Mt Maunganui v Suburbs Piako, Rotorua Aces v Kohekohe, CBD University v Rotorua Indians, Hamilton Old Boys v Pukekohe Indians.
Women: Otumoetai v Onewhero/Pukekohe, Fraser Tech v Thames Valley, Rotorua Aces v Hamilton Old Girls, Te Awamutu Ecolab v Mt Maunganui, UniverstyCBD v Taupo.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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