Northland couldn't quite climb to the top of the mountain as they went down 4-2 to Midlands in the women's Ford National Hockey League final.

Northland were competing in their third NHL final in four years and had an unbeaten run heading into the battle.

They probably shouldn't have even been in the showcase.

After an early Jodie Nichol goal in their semifinal with North Harbour, Northland found themselves 2-1 down with just two minutes remaining.


But Black Sticks Brooke Neal and Ella Gunson snatched victory from Harbour's grasp to book their spot.

Midlands were not going to be easy beats though. Despite Northland beating them in the pool stage, they battled their way to the final and found themselves on the front foot early.

Gemma McCaw, making her return to the turf after an extended break following New Zealand's campaign at the Rio Olympics, had been in strong form all tournament long.

She continued her goal-scoring knack with a 14th-minute effort to give Midlands the 1-0 quarter-time lead.

Jodie Nichol took home the top goal scorers trophy after a strong showing during the tournament. PHOTO/PHOTOSPORT.NZ
Jodie Nichol took home the top goal scorers trophy after a strong showing during the tournament. PHOTO/PHOTOSPORT.NZ

Northland continued to work hard through the second quarter but they weren't able to capitalise when they were in great field position.

Their inability to find the back of the net during the second quarter was compounded as Midlands added two late-half goals.

Rosie Keddell initially doubled the deficit in the 27th minute before captain Sam Charlton added a third right on halftime which had them sitting pretty in the box seat.

Northland needed a hot start to the second spell to mount any sort of comeback - and Stacey Michelsen provided just that.

Midlands conceded a penalty corner straight out of the blocks and Black Stick Michelsen duly converted to give Northland a glimmer of hope.

That glimmer faded almost as suddenly as it appeared as Shiloh Gloyn scored to restore Midlands three goal buffer at 4-1.

Northland had showed throughout their time in Wellington that a second half deficit did not mean curtains. Gunson put another shot in the back of the net in the 43rd minute to set up a final quarter showdown.

The women from the north put up an almighty fight, a fully developed trademark of the side, but the hole was too deep to dig out of.

Midlands hoisted the trophy aloft despite the best efforts of Northland.

Nichol walked away with some silverware after clinching the maximum goal scorer trophy after converting three field goals and three penalty corners through the week.

Meanwhile the men's side will be leaving Wellington a little worse for wear after finishing at the bottom of the table following their 11-0 drubbing at the hands of Canterbury.

Sam Lane scored six goals to make it 10 from two outings against Northland during the week.

Northland were down 3-0 at halftime but Canterbury piled on the pressure in the second spell.