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Adopted teams do well at u18s

HOCKEY

THREE rising stars of Gisborne hockey were given a chance to show their talents on the national stage last week.

Goalkeeper Cole Manson stripped up for the Hawke’s Bay squad for the Men’s u18 tournament, while Kelsey Teneti and Alesha Batisaresare represented Counties Manukau in the Women’s u18 tournament.

Gisborne was unable to send a team to the tournaments because of numbers, with the rising stars having to trial for out-of-town teams.

The competition also acts as a trial for the national u18 squads, which are set to be announced in the following weeks.

The Counties Manukau team had the toughest pool of the competition. Their first two games were against tournament favourites Hawke’s Bay, who finished in fourth place, and Canterbury, who finished second.

After two tough losses, the team was able to bounce back and win the next three on the trot. Their pool position saw them seeded to play Canterbury 2 for the 9/10 position, which they lost 3-1 before their final game of the tournament against Manawatu was cancelled due to weather, the team finishing 11th-equal from 21 teams.

Both women had to travel from Gisborne and Hamilton to Auckland three times for “mini-trial” games and mid-week training.

Louise Teneti (operations manager for Poverty Bay) managed the team, saying their result was a fantastic achievement.

“With not a lot of playing time together, the girls came third in their pool.”

Kelsey had played under an injury cloud, she said, pushing through with four stitches in her knee from a winning performance in the premier Hamilton women’s rugby league.

Kelsey’s talent has seen her selected for the Waikato Farah Palmer Cup team.

Cole was an unstoppable force in the pool stages for Hawke’s Bay. He allowed only three goals in their first five games, seeing his team through to a tough semi-final against North Harbour 1, that they lost 5-0.

Depite suffering a 3-1 defeat in the bronze medal match, where Otago scored two goals in the fourth quarter, the team’s result exceeded expectations.

Gisborne’s Wade Manson, Cole’s father, managed the team and said it was a great achievement to finish fourth.

“These bigger associations in the finals have a larger pool of players to draw on, and when you compare Hawke’s Bay to these larger associations, it’s a massive achievement to place fourth in New Zealand.”

Cole said his tournament highlight was beating Auckland 1-0 to top their pool and earn a place in the semi-finals.

“I’ve never been in a team that has beaten Auckland before, and most of the Hawke’s Bay players hadn’t either, so that was an awesome experience.

“It was a real team effort by the boys,” said Cole.

“We had heaps of supporters at the game cheering us on, including South Canterbury, who ended up second in our pool because we beat Auckland.”

Expat Gisborne player Olivier Hillard was also in the Hawke’s Bay team with Cole. Both players had started playing rep hockey together in the U11 grades but Hillard’s family moved when he reached high school.

It was “cool” for them to be back in the same team again and achieving such great results, said Wade.

ON GUARD: Cole Manson is in the firing line during an Auckland A penalty corner. Hawke’s Bay (Manson’s team) won the game 1-0 in what he called his highlight of the tournament. Picture by Sarah Johnson
REPRESENTING COUNTIES MANUKAU: Alesha Batisaresare (left) and Kelsey Teneti had to travel to Auckland to trial and practise for the Counties Manukau team. Picture supplied