The Whanganui High School boys 1st X1 lacked the final polish to make a winning debut in the 2019 Rankin Cup & India Shield hockey championship in Christchurch.
The team won the opportunity to compete in the Rankin Cup after winning the lower-graded Founders Cup tournament three years on the trot, but stumbled in its first two matches at the top level, going down 3-1 to Kings College on Monday and 4-1 to Wellington College on Tuesday morning.
Coach Andrew Spence said the Rankin Cup was next level and a competition played at a far quicker pace than his lads were used to, although he was confident they would cope with a healthy dose of self confidence.
"We had our chances and actually dominated much of the play on our match against Wellington this morning - we just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net," Spence said.
"I think a wee bit of self confidence wouldn't go astray. While we couldn't finish off, they did and that was the difference. It is a new level of play and we do have a wide cross section of players from Year 9 through to the older guys and it was a case of lost opportunities and a lack of depth at this level, but I guess it is tournaments like this that will give us that depth."
Spence said while his team was bitterly disappointed with the results of the first two games, which they had earmarked as winnable, the experience gained was invaluable for the future.
While that kicked off Tournament Week for WHS, other Whanganui teams were having mixed results in their endeavours at other secondary school competitions at various venues throughout the country.
The Whanganui Collegiate School 1st X1 boys side have convingly won all three matches of their Founders Cup competition in Napier, beating Onslow College 7-1, St Pat's Silverstream 9-nil and Western Heights High School 8-1.
The wins put WCS into a quarter final match against Waiopehu College on Wednesday morning.
Nga Tawa drew 2-2 with Rosehill College in their first match of the Chica Gilmer Trophy for girls in North Harbour and then 0-0 with Rangitoto College in game two, while Whanganui Collegiate's 1st X1 girls had a dream start to their Tournament Week.
WCS hammered Botany Downs College 16-nil and then bet Long Bay College 2-0.
In the Mary Clinton Cup competition for girls, Whanganui Girls College drew 2-2 with Hastings Girls High on familiar ground at Collegiate and then lost 7-0 to Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ruamata on the turf at Gonville.
Tournament Week hockey continues through until Friday and Saturday.
Some Whanganui teams played other games late yesterday, the results of which were unavailable before deadline.