Both the Central men and women's teams are through to the top four at the Vantage Under-18 National Hockey Tournament in Wellington.

The women's side, featuring Whanganui players Rebecca Baker and Sophie Redmayne, easily qualified top of Pool A with an unbeaten run through pool play. The men's team, featuring Whanganui's Patrick Madder and Connor Hoskin, had a more nervous journey into the top four.

The Central men needed a solitary point to progress through to a semifinal spot, while Southern needed an outright victory in their final match of pool play late on Tuesday afternoon.

With the score locked at 3-all late in the game Southern managed to edge ahead 4-3, but with just 13 seconds remaining in the match, Central equalised when Daniel Foss (Taranaki) found the back of the net forcing the clash to go to a penalty shootout. Southern won that 3-2, but Central already had the point it needed to go through to the semifinals.


Central gained its much-needed point from the draw at the final whistle. Under the rules an actual outcome either way is required should it need to go to goal difference to find a winner. In is case there was no need, Central's single point was enough.

Central men assistant coach, Whanganui's Jan Dixon, said the lads had played exceptional hockey throughout the tournament and it helped that they were mates.

"They're a great bunch of guys who all get on with each other and that helps," Dixon said.

"We are into the semifinals now and carry four points through to crossover play. First up is Canterbury tomorrow (Thursday) and they also carry four points through. We need to beat them and will be looking at footage of their games to work out a game plan during today's layday."

The Central women, however, have had a dream run through to their semifinal against Auckland today. They have gone through unbeaten after a 4-1 trashing of North Harbour in the final game of pool play on Tuesday. Whanganui's Rebecca Baker scored Central's final goal in the 45th minute.

Other's aiming for a top for spot in the women's division were not so clear cut.

With just three minutes to play in the last pool play game, three teams could have mathematically nabbed the last spot available in the top four.

In the end hosts Capital managed to cling on and qualify on goal difference despite a 4-2 loss to Northland on Tuesday evening.