With the Midlands Intercity Hockey competition looming, claiming Baywide titles is good preparation for the men's and women's champions.
Rotorua Aces men's and CMS Mount Maunganui women's teams claimed their respective titles at the Baywide Senior Competition finals day in Whakatāne on Saturday.
Mount Maunganui beat Whakatāne 5-2 in the women's final while Aces drew two-all with Tauranga Old Boys in the men's final before the Rotorua side prevailed in a shootout.
Intercity competitions begin on April 27 and Mount Maunganui coach Narayan Singh says the Baywide competition is great preparation for his side.
"We had to finetune a few little structures and it is just about getting combinations right," Singh says.
"We have been known as slow starters so this Baywide comp is ideal for us. It gets us going a little earlier and gets the crew together it is tough because it makes the season a little longer but it is a good build up."
Singh says after being in the top four for the past three years, his team are aiming to win the competition.
"We are fortunate to hold a good core group from the last four years and we get the odd new one coming through. We have developed a really good squad and off the field the culture is strong. We are focused on game awareness, we know how we want to play so we have to keep disciplined and keep our structure.
"Intercity is great, the Hamilton teams are the main contenders but now we are finding it is not being dominated by those teams like it has been in previous years. The games are quite close."
Aces coach Jamie Carroll also sees the Baywide competition as a great addition to the season.
"We felt we were going into intercity a little underdone and we are stoked Baywide is going again. It is great for the match fitness, having continuity and ironing the processes out," Carroll says.
Remarkably the shootout on Saturday had just one goal scored.
"It was a young side we had out there on Saturday, we have some exciting under-18 Midlands players and one of our primary objectives is to give young players a platform. It is also good to have those old heads in the team."
Aces demonstrated their ability up front in Saturday's final and Carroll says it is a balancing act.
"Our style is a bit of controlled flair, we have put a few parameters in place to allow it to happen in certain areas of the field. We have never had a problem scoring goals but we also need to make sure we are playing low-risk hockey in the defensive half."
Midlands representative players are required to play in the competition and the format will have the 13 teams play in a round-robin format, before the top two sides will play off to decide the title. Carroll says he is looking forward what lies ahead.
"There is a fair bit of variety of teams playing in intercity this year. The speed is a lot faster, and in Baywide you can target areas of certain teams – that is a lot harder to do at Intercity, because they are more consistent across the board."
Intercity first round draw for April 27:
Suburbs v Hamilton Old Boys, Aces v Pukekohe Indians, BOP Indians v Fraser Tech, Ecolab Te Awamutu v Waiau Pa Pirates, Storage King University v Tauranga Old Boys, CIP Collegians the bye.
Ōtūmoetai Magic v University, Bayleys Waiau Pa v Aces, Hamilton Old Girls v Ecolab Te Awamutu, CMS Mount v Marist, Fraser Tech the bye.