The Trans Tasman Underwater Hockey Tournament
Monday 7 July – Friday 11th July 2014
Wellington, New Zealand.
Post competition blues set in as the Australian players, Coaches and Management begin to trickle home to their above water realities.
Last weeks Trans Tasman tournament bought together the best of Australia and New Zealand’s U19 and U23 underwater hockey players, with some extras thrown in the mix for good measure. The U23 Men’s division hosted a fluoro clad Barbarian team as well as the national U23 Men teams, while a Amazons team (the Baked BeaNZ) played in the U23 Womens’ division, with equally impressive attire (though the real costumes came out on presentation night – and the Kiwi’s certainly know how to dress up!).
Including the Barbarian and Amazon teams in the tournament provided a challenging and exciting opportunity for our athletes to play against diverse elite level teams. The Amazon team was made up of four world champions from the 2013 NZ Elite Women’s team and others from the world champion U23 Women team. They proved the strongest team by far in the round robin, but the Australian U23 Women managed to score two goals against them over the course of the tournament, the only team to do so. In addition to these bonus teams, cross over games were played in the round robin, adding extra diversity and interest to the tournament. It got particularly interesting when the U19 teams started beating the U23 teams, the AUS U23 women lost 3-0 to the NZ U19 A team on day four of the tournament.
Despite this loss, the AUS U23 Women team improved dramatically and were in for a chance at taking the gold. Their results against the NZ U23 team improved from a 12-0 defeat on day one, to a 3-2 defeat (with only 7 players, resting two injuries) on day three. They unfortunately lost their final against NZ 4-0.
The U19 Men had an equally close tournament, winning and drawing against the NZ U19 Men during the round robin, with an exciting upset when the NZ U19 B team beat the NZ U19 A team. In a close semi final that went into over time the AUS U19 made it into the grand final, just missing out on the gold to NZ U19 Men A (4-2).
The AUS U19 Women played phenomenally for such a young team. The underdogs from the beginning they showed a commitment to improving and learning and managed to score some goals over the tournament against the NZ U19 teams.
The champions of the tournament, the U23 Men, managed to turn a disappointing start into a spectacular end. They were defeated by NZ U23 Men in the first three games of the round robin, drew one game, won a game, lost some more, and went on to win the final 3-1. Huge congratulations to the AUS U23 Men who played their final with a professionalism and commitment to be incredibly proud of, and managed to look reasonable in denim on denim (on denim…). Massive compliments to Matt McCartney (TAS) who took home a well-deserved Most Valuable Player award.
UHA would like to thank all those who made last week possible. New Zealand underwater hockey, you put on a fantastic tournament that truly embraced the ideals of strengthening cross-Tasman friendships; you hosted a remarkable tournament that displayed a commitment to improving the sport, and developing and inspiring our junior players by providing diverse opposition and a fair tournament. Thank you to Sandra Millner, the team manager capable of anything, and who gives everything. To the chaperones and parents, thank you for your help, support, encouragement and assistance in all things. To the coaches and to the athletes, who showed fair conduct, friendliness and a dedication to give their all. Congratulations everyone, your efforts last week have made us all excited for Spain 2015.
For more photos and regular updates visit the underwater hockey Australia face book page.