The Whanganui High School boys 1st X1 hockey team head into this evening's Manawatu Secondary Schools Division 1 final as favourites over Feilding High School.
During round robin play this season, the strong WHS side drew with Feilding before beating them 2-nil and tonight they will be hunting a three-peat in the Manawatu competition.
Named Senior Team of the Year at the Whanganui High School sports awards last season, the side includes New Zealand under-18 player Patrick Madder.
Coming off winning the 2017 Manawatu Secondary School Division 1 competition, the team knew they could be strong contenders for the trophy again in 2018. The boys had a consistent season, playing 23 games.
They drew two and won 21. They scored 122 goals and only had 12 scored against them, finishing the competition winning the Manawatu grade, making them back-to-back champs.
The team then went on to perform well at the Founders Cup in Palmerston North over winter tournament week winning the Tier 2 grade, which has given them the opportunity to play at Rankin Cup (Tier 1) in Christchurch in a fortnight.
Team manager Darrell Hoskin, however, was in no doubt Feilding would be tough and could certainly not be considered pushovers.
"Feilding High School has put a lot into the sports teams, including hockey. Their hockey and rugby sides are touring Japan later this year, so they will be hungry," Hoskin said.
"We do have a very strong side, though and will be playing to win."