Jubilant Te Puke 6-a-side gold medallists
Te Puke Intermediate has claimed gold in the mixed 6-a-side hockey at the Anchor AIMS Games, beating Taradale Intermediate in a tense final which went to a penalty shootout.
Taradale led 2-1 at halftime but a volley of goals in the second half saw Te Puke draw 6-6 at fulltime, and eventually triumph in the second round of penalty shootouts.
Coach Suzy Longley said the school’s team came 33rd last year; they never dreamt they might win gold this year.
“I wanted to get in to the top 10!”
Captain Conal Mikkelsen said he was “ecstatic”.
As he left the turf, Te Puke’s enthusiastic supporters were yelling their congratulations through the chicken wire of the boundary fence.
“Can I get your autograph?”
Taradale, competing in their first ever AIMS Games final, did not leave empty-handed – earlier the school had been named recipients of the prestigious AIMS Games TeamMates Cup. Taradale’s Head of Sport, Kirsten Demanser-Wilson, said the 6-a-side hockey side contains two children with cochlear implants. She was delighted with the TeamMates Cup and to have Taradale featuring in finals (hockey and football) for the first time since the school’s inaugural AIMS outing eight years ago.
Kristin School are the Anchor AIMS Games boys’ hockey champions for 2017, after a tight final against Cobham Intermediate.
Kristin’s assistant coach, Black Sticks mid-fielder Shiloh Gloyn, said the 2-0 win would finally bury her team’s devastating 2016 loss to Christchurch’s Cobham in the quarter finals of the annual intermediate-aged tournament.
Gloyne said the game was tighter than the score reflected and the significance of coming back from last year’s crushing early exit to win gold against Cobham made this victory particularly special.
Kristin captain Karl Wallace said it was a hectic game. He had only dared to dream of a top 8 placing.
“But we started playing as a team.”
The girls’ final was a clash of two renowned hockey schools but, St Cuthbert’s College claimed the gold with a sudden-death penalty shoot-out against Kamo Intermediate.
Locked at 1-1 at fulltime, the players faced off with two rounds of penalty shoot-outs.
Coach Tori Vao said she was relieved and was close to losing her voice. Captain Zara Stewart said she was “over the moon”.
She said the team had endured another penalty shootout in the semi-finals, which proved great experience for the final.