Hockey: Brilliant keeping has HBHS working hard

The semifinals of the Hawke's Bay Boys' Secondary Schools Hockey Division 1 league saw Hastings Boys' High School 1st XI play Taradale High School 1st XI last week.

HBHS had finished top of the table in the round robin league stage of the season and whilst Taradale had finished fourth they had improved significantly in the latter part of the season.

Hastings Boys' had the majority of possession and territorial advantage for much of the game. Taradale were always going to be a threat on the counterattack through Central Districts Under 21 forward Regan Hughes. Hastings had a large number of chances in the first half from both open play and set pieces.

Taradale's goalkeeper had an exceptional game to keep Hastings scoreless for a long time. Hughes had one half chance in the first period of play and he unleashed an unstoppable shot to give Taradale a 1-0 lead very much against the run of play.

Hastings didn't panic however and kept fully focused throughout the match. Mitchell Bradley scored to equalise for Hastings just before halftime.

Coaches Dean Hulls and Joe Hanks, who is the current Hawke's Bay Hockey Under 18 boys' coach, made some tactical adjustments at halftime that resulted in even more possession for their team.

Hanks changed some of the attack penalty corner options and this paid dividends quickly as Hastings Boys' Central Districts Under 21 player Liam Sykes scored giving Hastings a 2-1 lead early in the second half.

CD Under 21 forward Dylan Thomas rattled the crossbar twice. Several close misses followed and some fantastic saves from the Taradale goalkeeper made for a tense finish to the game.

Thomas increased the lead with an excellent goal giving HBHS some breathing space.

The score finished with a 3-1 win to Hastings. Hastings will be joined in the final to be played today by Napier Boys' who beat Lindisfarne 4-1 in the other semifinal.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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