They may have the perfect record, but the Whanganui men are still searching for a perfect game in the Hockey Manawatu Men's Premier Reserve after beating Massey Reserves 3-1 on Saturday.

Playing at the Twin Turfs in Palmerston North, Whanganui was a team with four veterans and the rest being their younger secondary school players, as the likes of Chad Warner were unavailable due to Warner still working through his hamstring injury.

"We were 1-0 down pretty much straight away. Just slack defence and not paying attention," said senior player Calum Wilbur.

"Goodness knows how many shots we didn't score off."


Massey maintained their lead right through till halftime, but in the third quarter Whanganui was able to execute a couple of penalty corner opportunities for Matt Forward to score a double.

The opening goal aside, Whanganui had kept their goal mouth fairly clear for the majority of the match, but Massey were now able to pour on some pressure at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the next period, desperate for an equaliser.

"They were having the better of the game, but those were their only shots on target in the game," said Wilbur.

In the last minute before fulltime, Whanganui got a breakaway and Jacob Moorehouse was on the end of it to score their third goal for a slightly flattering victory margin.

Whanganui are now four-from-four in the Premier Reserve grade, with 12 goals scored to six conceded.

They maintain their lead on the points table over Marton HC, who they narrowly defeated 4-3 at Gonville the previous week, while Marton picked up a 2-1 win over third-placed College B at the Twin Turfs on Saturday.

Whanganui's last game of the first round will be against winless High School Hockey Club B (0-1-3) at Gonville on Saturday at 3pm.

"We're dropping our levels to the level of the opposition, rather than playing to ability," said Wilbur of his team's current progress.

"That will be a problem in that third round, if we don't sort it out."

After the completion of two rounds, both the six-team Premier and Premier Reserve grades will split into three divisions with four teams each.

Should Whanganui win the "middle" division, they will receive promotion back up into Premier for 2020.

If based on current standings, the two teams who would drop down to the middle division to join Whanganui and Marton would be the Massey Premiers and Palmerston North Boys' High School.

In the Women's Premier grade, Whanganui put together three competitive quarters against the undefeated table leaders High School Hockey Club A, but the problem was the home side got away to a lightning start at the Twin Turfs.

Whanganui were down 3-0 before they'd even had time to blink in the first quarter, before holding HSHC back further for a 4-1 loss.

"We allowed their players too much space. They're going to take it," said player-coach Colleen Baylis.

"So, we drew the second quarter, made a few positional changes. Did it quite well.

"[HSHC], they're quite quick on the counter."

Colleen Baylis.
Colleen Baylis.

In the third quarter, Whanganui pulled it back to 3-1 when Jane Abraham scored a similar goal to last week against College A, with three team passes forward to get her in position.

However, HSHC finally scored again in the final quarter for a comfortable win to take their season record to 3-1-0, with 11 goals scored and five conceded.

After the bye in the opening weekend and three straight matches at the Twin Turfs, Whanganui will now finally get their first home game of the season at Gonville against the bottom of the table Massey Premiers, who lost 3-0 to College A on Saturday.

Whanganui have a draw and two losses on their record so far with a -5 goal differential, compared to Massey's -11 differential from three defeats.

Baylis said ideally they will pick up their first victory to raise the confidence in the squad, especially for all their secondary school players who are new to playing Premier hockey after the team was promoted following last year's Premier Reserve championship victory.

"It's just a bit of, 'hey, let's get used to it and build for the next two rounds'," said Baylis.