Composure in final quarter was needed by both the Whanganui teams in the Hockey Manawatu leagues on Saturday, as scoring the last goal prevented a draw and a defeat respectively at the Twin Turfs.
In their second match of the Men's Premier Reserve, the Whanganui men, formally Tech College Old Boys, came from 2-0 down to pick up a 3-2 victory over College B to have a share of the top of the table.
Without Matt Forward to anchor the middle of the back defenders, Whanganui gave up a goal in each of the opening two quarters.
"We started very slowly, not helped by a certain player getting there just before the whistle blew," senior player Calum Wilbur sheepishly admitted, having spent Friday night in Wellington.
"Took us a while to get some structure back there.
"We had as many shots in the first half as they did – we were just very, very wasteful."
Ultimately, fielding half a dozen teenagers proved a virtue as they did not tire in the second half, right when their opposition was beginning to slow down.
Whanganui worked Collegiate student James Craig into a breakaway to get him one vs one with the College B keeper, and he went around him to open their account.
In the same third quarter, senior player John Lavin, having returned this year from Australia, dived to collect a deflection and tie the scores.
Then in the final quarter, squad regular Tyler Nicoll-Hylton stood up his defender to get in the goal mouth and fire off the match-winner.
Whanganui then locked College B out of their dangerzone until the fulltime whistle.
"I don't think they had a shot on goal in the final little bit," said Wilbur.
The win set up a battle of the table leaders, and a unique local derby, at the Gonville Domain on Saturday, as Whanganui will take on Marton HC at 1.30pm.
Marton have started strongly with a 5-1 win over the Massey Reserves before the Easter break, and then beating High School Hockey Club B 4-1 on Saturday.
After the opening weekend bye in Women's Premier, the new-look Whanganui women's team had their first match together against Palmerston North Girls High, with a goal five minutes from fulltime snatching a 3-3 draw.
As well as having played in round one, the well-coached schoolgirls have had some preseason games to get some squad familiarity, while Whanganui was still feeling their way early on.
"We definitely had plenty of opportunities, but first game out and first game together, I don't think we could have done much better," said player/coach Colleen Baylis.
"Workrate off the ball is one of the things we need to work on, and strength on the ball as well."
Their goalscorers were former Black Stick Robbie Matthews, Anna Symes and Sophie Redmayne.
Given the Whanganui women will only have four regular season home games in Premier, Baylis said Saturday's tie was a good chance for her younger players to get acclimatised to playing in the higher division in Palmerston North, before they have to face the big teams like High School Hockey Club.
Whanganui will face College A on the Twin Turfs at 1.45pm on Saturday, with the home side likely to be missing for players for an Under 21's tournament.