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These articles are compiled by the Otago Secondary Schools Sports Association Inc (OSSSA) which is proudly sponsored by Perpetual.
Girls rugby festival
South Otago High School was the deserved winner of the 11th girls rugby festival held in Oamaru recently.
It beat Christchurch Girls' High School 34-0 in the final, remained unbeaten in the tournament, and was awarded the plaque for the best all-round team which encompasses aptitude, attitude and fair play.
In pool games, the closest game South Otago encountered was against local rival Blue Mountain, a regular team at the festival, when the score was just 10-0. This game was the catalyst Blue Mountain needed to beat Christchurch 15-7 later and earn a place in the semifinals ahead of the local St Kevin's College team.
Unfortunately, it again drew South Otago, which this time was not going to be caught napping, South Otago going on to win comfortably. In the other semifinal, Christchurch Girls' played Rangi Ruru Girls' School and won an exciting encounter in the last play of the game, 17-12. St Kevin's beat St Hilda's Collegiate 15-5 in the playoff for fifth and sixth.
In the final, right winger Samarra Soper scored twice in the first 10 minutes. This early burst was followed by tries to Jonelle Fulton, Mikayla Latta, Sam Hollows and Greer Muir.
Amber Buxton added two conversions. Thirty-four unanswered points emphasised South Otago's dominance of this year's event.
As well as the rugby on show, another encouraging aspect of the festival was the quality of the young referees, who were all tertiary students. Michael Smaill and Hamish Davies had refereed premier games this year and James Doleman had controlled premier 2 matches. Brandon Hale, a first-year Otago Polytechnic Sport and Adventure student, is working his way up the grades and a class-mate, Sione Pulu, played a significant role in running the event.
Local players to make the tournament team were: Sinead Cormack (Blue Mountain) Emma Stark, Greer Muir, Kobie Latta, Mikayla Latta, Sam Hollows, Samara Soper (South Otago) Olivia Waldron (St Hilda's) Raewyn Gregory-Hunt (St Kevin's).
Sports co-ordinators conference
The sports co-ordinators from Otago and Southland joined the snow in Queenstown to attend a two-day conference built around "Best Practice" examples in our own schools. The work of sports councils in Otago was well received particularly by the Southland schools where Dunstan High School, Queen's High School, Columba College and Cromwell College all explained the different benefits that this initiative has made to their school sport.
Several schools outlined their academy programmes which, in a variety of ways, have given their promising athletes the opportunity to excel in their chosen sport. Garry Carnachan, NZSSSC executive director, outlined the advances they have made in the UK with the introduction of sporting colleges. These schools are built around how sport can influence academic performance. In all of these schools the physical education department was the driver of sport which is quite different from the model we have in New Zealand. We were also privileged to have Roger Wood, from Sparc, address the delegates on where it sees youth sport heading in the next five years.
Again, this was very interesting as he outlined the "Whole of School" model where community involvement was the way forward if we are to grow participation as well as give our better athletes the opportunity to excel. The highlight of the conference was the three students who spoke about "What they expect from School Sport". James McDonald (Dunstan), Jess Offen (Cromwell) and Emma Millikin (Wakatipu), were all quite different in their presentations, making many valid points both positive and negative of how they felt about sport in their school. The hour-long session was well received with the three students making a significant contribution to the conference.
The secondary schools ice hockey competition concluded at the end of term two - the competition unfortunately unable to go into term three due to the ice not being available.
The A grade competition has been contested by the top sides from King's High, Otago Boys' High and John McGlashan College and a team of recent school-leavers making up the fourth.
While the Otago Boys' team dominated throughout, there were some very close and exciting encounters during the season with a couple of draws and one-goal thrillers. In the final, Otago Boys' were too strong across the roster for King's and took the final 7-3.
The B grade final was a thriller, and was a fitting finale to what has been an excellent competition. One of the competition highlights was the late inclusion of a very enthusiastic team from East Otago HS for the past two weeks. This gave these students the taste of what is a very exciting and fast-paced game with the team doing well to score a couple of goals in their two matches. The grade was made up of the B teams from the three A Grade schools, along with Taieri College, Otago Girls' HS, Logan Park HS and a combined Queen's HS/St Hilda's Collegiate side, and latterly East Otago.
The previous week's semifinals saw King's B and Logan Park retain their dominance with wins over Otago Boys' B and John McGlashan B respectively. The two finalists could not be separated during pool play earlier in the competition finishing 1-1. The final was an epic struggle that saw the defences and goal keepers dominate in a 0-0 score line at the end of regular time. The teams then went to a shoot-out, with the goal keepers again to the fore. Of the four attempts each, all were saved except the first King's attack which was eventually enough to give it the narrowest of victories.
The boys midweek football competition has seen a record 29 teams this season, with the numbers pleasingly high in the junior grades.
There are seven Premier grade teams, eight Reserve grade and 14 Junior sides. With the weather mostly playing its part, there have been plenty of matches thus far with a variety of results but most importantly plenty of boys playing and enjoying football. Again we have been very fortunate having the services of a number of local referees controlling matches each week. Another highlight has been the inclusion of the Waitaki Boys' first team in the Premier grade. Along with the South Otago HS first team, this means a certain amount of travelling and playing for all teams - something that players and coaches need to learn to manage as part of the competition.
The Premier grade had a break in the last couple of weeks in term two, with the teams playing a knockout competition. The Otago Boys' team awaits the winner of the rescheduled King's and Kavanagh game which will determine the other finalist. The Premier grade will resume with semifinals the second week back, with Otago Boys' playing Kavanagh and Waitaki Boys' taking on John McGlashan to determine the finalists for the season.
The Reserve grade is a close contest between the Bayfield first team and Otago Boys' seconds - both teams currently tied at the top of the grade, although Bayfield has a game in hand.
With these two teams yet to meet, the result may well determine the eventual winner of the grade.
Section one in the Junior grade is a two-horse race between OBHS 10 Blue and the McGlashan Blue team.
The second section is dominated by the three Otago Boys' teams in the top four, but the Kaikorai Valley juniors will be seeking to make it to the final.
Contacts: Des Smith, Otago Regional Sports director, Po Box 6303, Dunedin. Ph 470-1337 Email: email@example.com