After a poor start to the season, Springfield's premier men's hockey team seem to be back on track with a 1-0 win over Whangārei Boys' High School (WBHS).
The win vaults Springfield into third place, three points clear of the schoolboy team in fourth. After losing 4-1 in the teams' previous fixture in May, the Springfield side will be happy to move up the table as the competition's final stages grow nearer.
"To be fair, we didn't play so well the first time we played them, but we started well this time which was good," Springfield men's coach Grant McLeod said.
"We had very good passing through the first and second quarters, we dominated for long periods, we held the ball, we created couple of opportunities and probably could have scored a couple more."
Getting over the shock of the first half, WBHS started to dominate the play in the second half with a number of opportunities to level the game. A good performance from reserve goalkeeper Grant Croft kept Springfield in the game.
"[Croft] has played for Springfield for years so it's great to be able to call on him when we need him," McLeod said.
Now with four wins from nine games and just three points behind second-placed Maungakaramea, McLeod hoped his team could forget the early losses and focus on improving ahead of the finals.
"We've made some changes within the side and that seems to have helped us put in better performances.
"They are playing pretty well and they have some belief in themselves now so it's been pleasing this round."
WBHS coach Warren Litchfield said he was reasonably happy with his side's effort after a slow start.
"You're never happy with a loss but we made enough chances to have scored some goals so it wasn't like we were out-played or anything."
While there were missed opportunities for both sides throughout the game, Litchfield said he wasn't concerned about poor finishing looking ahead to the rest of the season.
"Some of our better players had opportunities that they would usually do better at, but I don't think we need to panic with what happened in that game."
In the round's other game, Maungakaramea stayed within six points of league leaders Mangapai with a 2-1 win over Bream Bay.
In the premier women's competition, Springfield got back to winning ways after they recorded their first loss of the season to Old Girls last week, beating Whangārei Girls' High School, 2-0. In the round's other game, Old Girls drew 2-2 with Hikurangi.