Mangapai closed out a perfect round one of Northland's premier men's hockey competition with a convincing 4-1 victory over Maungakaramea on Saturday in Whangārei.

With four wins from four games, plus a compulsory bye, Mangapai are pulling ahead of the pack at the top of the table with 15 points.

Maungakaramea and Whangārei Boys' High School sit five points back in equal second and will need to find a way to combat Mangapai's fast-paced, attacking play.

Maungakaramea managed to stem Mangapai's progress at times in Saturday's game at the Northland Hockey Centre at Kensington.

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Going into the halftime break leading 2-1, Mangapai stormed home in the second half to win by three goals.

"I think we played relatively well, there's always stuff to work on but the guys put in a pretty solid performance," Mangapai coach Mark Thorne said.

"We probably could have taken a few more opportunities in the first half but it was good to see that we were able to finish the game off strong."

Thorne said his side was starting to gel more as a unit which helped them play a fast, counter-attacking style.

"We are trying to target other teams when they make easy turnovers and attack the other teams very quickly and accurately.

"Our strength is a lot of speed but it's just matching our skill with that speed."

Maungakaramea coach Sam Webb said it wasn't the best game his side had played but they would learn a lot from playing the table leaders.

"It was just a different pace than what we are used to, so it was good for the boys because it's a step up from the last couple of games we've had."

"We hit the post a couple of times and if either of those two went in, it would have changed the momentum so it's just a good learning curve."

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In the round's other game, Whangārei Boys' High School beat Bream Bay United, 5-2.

Bream Bay United players rush from the goal-mouth to defend a penalty corner. Photo / John Stone
Bream Bay United players rush from the goal-mouth to defend a penalty corner. Photo / John Stone

In the premier women's competition, Whangārei Girls' High School moved to equal second on the table behind Springfield after their 5-2 win over Hikurangi on Saturday at Kensington.

With burgeoning combinations at the top of the pitch, WGHS coach Dave Adams was happy with the performance from his strikers.

"Four of our goals were from our strikers, which is always good," he said.

"We've got a lot of room for improvement but I'm pretty happy with how we went with the ball, creating a few chances."

Whangārei Girls' High School's Claire Donnelly (left) sprints down the line, avoiding Hikurangi player, Amy Jones. Photo / John Stone
Whangārei Girls' High School's Claire Donnelly (left) sprints down the line, avoiding Hikurangi player, Amy Jones. Photo / John Stone

Adams said Hikurangi exposed his side's defensive vulnerabilities which would need to be addressed if the school side were to compete against league-leaders Springfield.

"Hikurangi played pretty well in the second half, causing problems with our defensive structure.

"We tend to do a lot of scrambled defence instead of structured defence and against a side as talented as Springfield, if we don't have good shape, we are always going to struggle."

Hikurangi coach Roland Price said he was disappointed with the loss after his side had made considerable improvements over the past few weeks.

"It's a step backwards for us, we struggled with the speed of game and [WGHS] got behind our defence pretty easily which is our biggest problem," he said.

Price said a slow start cursed his side who had started to gel well together despite losing their first four games.

Hikurangi's Chloe Ludlow (left) clashes sticks with WGHS player, Alice Donnelly. Photo / John Stone
Hikurangi's Chloe Ludlow (left) clashes sticks with WGHS player, Alice Donnelly. Photo / John Stone

"We'll take what we can out of the loss, take the positives out of it because we've come a long way in these past few weeks from being easy-beats to being a lot more competitive."

The round's other game saw Maungakaramea draw 4-all with Old Girls.

Springfield's men's and women's teams had the bye.


Results:
Women:

Maungakaramea 4 Old Girls 4, WGHS 5 Hikurangi 2, Springfield the bye.

Men:

Mangapai 4 Maungakaramea 1, WBHS 5 Bream Bay 2, Springfield the bye.