Bronze for Southern men

Not gold. Not silver. But bronze is not bad.

The Southern men recovered from a mid-tournament slump to claim third place at the national under-21 tournament in North Harbour last week.

Southern finished the competition with a dramatic 2-1 win against Auckland on Saturday.

Southern had dominated the encounter but slipped behind when Harrison Lawson slotted a goal in the 49th minute.

But Henry Will, who finished as the tournament's second-highest scorer with six goals, scored twice in the last minute to seal the victory.

The equaliser came from a penalty corner in the 60th minute and moments later he popped up again to slot the winner.

Capital clinched the title with a 3-2 win against Canterbury, while North Harbour beat Midlands to claim the silver medal.

Southern played some tremendous hockey throughout the week. A feature of its campaign was the slick passing in the midfield.

Kailin Dayal and Malachi Buschl made major contributions in that department.

Striker Dylan Thomas was impressive up front. He ran hard to get on to the passes the likes of Buschl and Finn Ward were pushing forward.

Will kept appearing just where and when he was needed, while defensively Maxwell Rasmussen and Jordan Ward were vital on defence. Both soldiered on despite knee complaints.

It is understood it is at least four or five years since a Southern team returned with a medal at under-21 level.

The women did not fare anywhere near as well. Southern was beaten 5-0 by Central in its final match and lost all six games at the tournament.

Canterbury underlined its class with a 5-0 drubbing of Auckland to win the title. North Harbour had to settle for second but also finished strongly, beating 5-1. Central was third.


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