Stratford has been alive with excitement and activity as large crowds gather to watch the Vantage Black Sticks Men versus Japan Samurai Men hockey series.

The games are part of the TSB Community Test series.

 Large crowds have gathered at the TET Hockey Turf in Stratford to watch the matches.
Large crowds have gathered at the TET Hockey Turf in Stratford to watch the matches.

The two teams also spent time with the community, teaching young hockey players tips and tricks.

Youngsters enjoyed the opportunity to learn hockey skills from the Japan Samurai Men and Vantage Black Sticks hockey teams.
Youngsters enjoyed the opportunity to learn hockey skills from the Japan Samurai Men and Vantage Black Sticks hockey teams.

Ellie Kowalewski, Madaline Symes and Ryan Kowalewski attended the first match of the series and said they were supporting the Vantage Black Sticks.

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 Ellie Kowalewski, Madaline Symes and Ryan Kowalewski supported the Vantage Black Sticks in the first match of the series.
Ellie Kowalewski, Madaline Symes and Ryan Kowalewski supported the Vantage Black Sticks in the first match of the series.

Unfortunately for the three Vantage Black Sticks supporters, the Japan Samurai Men won the match 2-1.

The Japan side hit the front early and never relented throughout the match.

Japan managed to create the first scoring opportunity when they had two penalty corners.

On the second corner, George Enersen pulled a great save but Japan jumped on the rebound and Kota Watanabe scored a goal.

 Japan won the first match of the series with a 2-1 win.
Japan won the first match of the series with a 2-1 win.

Hirotaka Wakuri was named the Asia Foundation man of the match for helping the Japan side take the victory.

Young hockey player, Lily Williams (7), says she enjoys watching the hockey matches.

"My favourite Vantage Black Sticks player is Nick Ross."

Coming into the second match, the Vantage Black Sticks were focused and determined. That paid off for the team as they won the match 6-3.

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The Vantage Black Sticks won the second match of the series with a 6-3 win.
The Vantage Black Sticks won the second match of the series with a 6-3 win.

Four of the goals were scored by Kane Russell. Kane was named the Kowalewski Holdings Ltd Man of the match for his effort on both sides of the turf.

In the third match of the series, the Vantage Black Sticks Men received back to back wins with a 2-0 victory over Japan.

The match was scoreless through three quarters until Nic Woods scored, putting the Vantage Black Sticks in the lead.

Japan's Seren Tanaka was named the Stratford Business man of the match.

■ The final match of the series on Tuesday night will feature in next week's paper.