Victories shared in opening day of North v South

The spoils were shared in the opening matches of the Sentinel Homes North v South series at St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton this afternoon.

The North were victorious 5-4 in a high-scoring men’s clash, while the South took out the women’s game 2-0.

There was certainly a ‘first matches of the season’ feel to the clashes, with the Vantage Black Sticks not having played international hockey since early last year.

In the men’s match, the North were off to a roaring start with two first quarter goals to the two Nicks. The first to captain Nic Woods was a trademark drag flick penalty corner six minutes in, followed eight minutes later with Nick Wilson latching on to a strong cross from Dylan Thomas.

The South replied just before the end of the second quarter with Sam Lane slotting a drag flick penalty corner into the bottom left of the goal to bring the score to 2-1 at the break.

In the third spell South’s Stephen Jenness equalised with a calm reverse shot before team-mate Dominic Newman knocked in the goal of the day to put the South ahead at 3-2. At the top of the circle, Newman faked and then rocketed a reverse shot into the goal.

The North equalised through a Charl Ulrich penalty corner goal near the end of the third quarter, before two more goals from Woods and Steven Edwards in the final spell secured the victory for the North.

Winning men’s captain Woods said the competitive nature of the game was outstanding.

“The old North v South always brings a bit of that.”

And he was pleased with his team’s comeback after three straight goals from the South.

“It was good to see from the third quarter that we continued to attack and didn’t go into our shells.”

Men: North 5 (Nic Woods 6 and 47 min, Nick Wilson 14 min, Charl Ulrich 43 min, Steven Edwards 54 min) South 4 (Sam Lane 30 min, Stephen Jenness 34 min, Dominic Newman 36 min, Dane Lett 60 min). 

In the earlier women’s game, the North were noticeably missing experienced Black Sticks defenders Fran Davies, Sam Charlton and Ella Gunson, all dealing with various injuries.

South defender Megan Hull opened the scoring with a penalty corner goal midway through the second quarter that was initially thought to have been deflected in off Olivia Shannon, but the call from the bench was that the goal was Hull’s.

The South extended their lead in the third spell with a cracking reverse shot at the top of the circle from Holly Pearson. Despite a number of penalty corners and near misses the score stayed at 2-0 to the South until the final whistle.

Victorious South captain Olivia Merry acknowledged it had been over a year since they’d played at that level.

“It felt like test match standards. It was definitely a good start and we’ll build from here.”

Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Coach Graham Shaw, who coached the South team, felt that while the teams had trained well it was interesting to see what happened when the pressure came on.

“We need to take a little more care of the ball. We’re going to go and play in very hot conditions in Tokyo and how we prepare for that is we need to hold on to the ball and make sure we work the opposition.”

Women: South 2 (Megan Hull 22 min, Holly Pearson 43 min) North 0.

Tomorrow’s North v South matches will be held at 12.30pm (women) and 2.30pm (men), with the final doubleheaders on Tuesday at 6.30pm (men) and 8pm (women) on the Tuesday. All matches are played at St Paul’s Collegiate and broadcast on Sky Sport 9 and Sky Sport Next.

  • April 17th, 2021 in
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