An all-Bay Independent Hockey Club final is on the cards ahead of the Hawke's Bay men's first division hockey semifinals this Saturday.
League leaders and reigning champions Bay Independent 1 will take on fourth-placed Akina Rovers Waapu, while second-placed Taupo Hockey will face off against Bay Independent 2 at Park Island.
Bay Independent 2 player Graeme Findlay says there is no certainty around the outcome of the weekend's games, based on season results.
"Bay 1 has had two narrow wins against Akina, so that game could go either way," he said.
Findlay said there was nothing between his side and Taupo in their previous encounter.
"We've played Taupo once and it was a 5-all draw," he said.
"There's no form sheet to say any result is guaranteed."
The postponement of the 2020 Olympics and global travel restrictions have meant New Zealand international Shea McAleese and New Zealand age-group representatives Sean Findlay and Oscar Nation have been playing for the Bay Independent 2 team this season.
Taupo Hockey also has a New Zealand age-group representative in goal for this weekend's fixture, in Luke Elmes.
Bay 1 player-coach Jacob Matson said having McAleese and other national standard players this season had lifted the club and the league.
"It's been really awesome having a current Black Stick playing in the competition, which doesn't normally happen," he said.
"It's made a real difference to people who would never play against that level of player."
Matson said his side are ready for their clash against Akina, who have a long history battling for the title, the player-coach added.
Akina Rovers goalkeeper Jared Priest said with the right intensity, his side could be in with a chance.
"They've beaten us 1-0 twice this season, both with early goals. But in the first game of the second round, we beat them 6-1 and absolutely dominated them," he said.
Priest, who has been with Akina Rovers for 26 years, said key players Jordy Tolchard and Liam Sykes will need to step up and lead for the side to have a chance of winning.
Akina Rovers are coming off the back of a 5-4 loss against Bay 2, despite being 4-2 up, before conceding three goals in the final quarter.
Both semifinals will be played with no spectators, with fans still unable to attend due to Covid gathering restrictions.
Hawke's Bay Hockey hopes to welcome spectators to the final on September 26, if Covid 19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.
- Bay 1 vs Akina Rovers - 12.45pm
- Taupo Hockey vs Bay 2 - 2.15pm