Whanganui has made a shaky start to the National Under 18 Men and Women's Association Tournaments this week beginning on Monday with a brace of losses each.
The U18 men, playing in North Harbour, went down 6-1 to a strong South Canterbury side in the morning and then improved to hold Wellington to 6-4. The women, playing in Palmerston North, went down 5-1 to Tauranga and 4-0 to Bay Of Plenty.
Both sides were forced to contend with heavy downpours during play that made ball handling difficult to say the least.
This season is the first year in some time Whanganui has fielded teams in either of the national u18 representative tournaments.
Women's coach Jan Dixon said she was playing with five imports from other districts to make up numbers, while men's coach Colleen Baylis had two imports from Taranaki.
"We haven't been together for very long at all and with five imports it makes it hard to gel early in the tournament," Dixon said.
"We will improve. We had a bye today and hopefully we can put up good performances against Wellington tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and Southern in the afternoon."
Baylis said a heavy downpour in game one against last year's fourth placed South Canterbury was almost called of because of a waterlogged pitch.
"One game near us was called of because of flooding, but we played on and to be fair I don't think we adapted to the conditions very well at all," Baylis said.
"We were 3-1 down at the break after we scored right on half time, but lost composure during the second half. In the Wellington game we were 2-1 up at half time, but the real action came in the second half. That was actually a winnable game, but we just lost concentration."
The men play Counties-Manukau Wednesday morning and Manawatu in the afternoon.
"I'd like to think both these games are very winnable," Baylis said.
Both tournaments run through until finals day on Saturday while Friday has been set aside for semi-finals.