Hockey: Students keep Albany at bay in men's final

University's Garrick Frittelli (left) and Albany's Jason Dungey follow the high ball during the...
University's Garrick Frittelli (left) and Albany's Jason Dungey follow the high ball during the Dunedin men's club final on Saturday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
University completed back-to-back championships in premier men's hockey after beating Albany 3-2 on Saturday.

But the students could not repeat the dose in the women's final, with Taieri rebounding from last year's loss to beat University 1-0.

The men's final was expected to be tight, as the sides have been fairly even in recent times, but the students withstood a late Albany charge after taking an early lead.

Chris Ashton got the students off to a flyer, scoring in just the second minute when he bounced the ball over Miles Roberts' stick and into the back corner of the goal.

The teams traded penalty corners as the game moved from end to end before Tom Clarkson added University's second with five minutes to go in the half through a well-timed drag flick that was too good for Roberts.

Right on halftime, Hugo Borren added a third, swatting a rebound ball from Roberts' pads into the top corner.

Ten minutes after the break, Albany was awarded a stroke, which youngster Kane Russell calmly slotted to bring Albany back into the game.

Albany's Rod Rzepecky was sent off with five minutes to play for an over-exuberant tackle on Chris Ashton.

This spurred Albany on and it pressed forward, repeatedly making inroads into the University circle.

Callum Bailey slotted Albany's second with well-timed shot from the top of the circle, bringing his side within sight of an unlikely win.

Albany pressed hard on the University defence, drawing a penalty corner right on fulltime, but it was not able to convert.

Having lost to University in a stroke-off last year, the Taieri women were elated at winning this year's title.

The final began cautiously, with both teams controlled in midfield and holding possession.

Early on, though, Taieri sent the ball through to a runaway player who drew the goalie well but could not shoot into the open goal.

University rallied and tried to make progress up the left but was constantly disrupted by the Taieri midfield.

Taieri benefited from such play when Natalie Irving snatched the ball, turned defence into attack and, with University off balance, pushed it to Rebecca King, who had moved ahead of Irving, to clinch the goal.

University fought back and Michelle Borren tried for a reverse-stick shot on goal, but Taieri maintained its dominance.

The students made errors and looked tired - perhaps a result of playing the lifeline game midweek.

Taieri, which had qualified directly, seemed the fresher team.

After halftime, University looked to play a possession game, using its traditional back-and-arounds, but Taieri's speedy Philippa Symes looked dangerous working the ball in alone and almost scoring single-handedly.

University had a chance to equalise when it won a penalty corner but the shot was saved by the Taieri defence.

An apparent goal was then celebrated by Taieri but not awarded by the umpires.

University, knowing it needed one goal to keep the game alive, made a brave tactical move, taking off its goalkeeper and putting on an 11th field player.

The students then looked like scoring but a timely tackle by Hayley Bayne saved the day for Taieri before the final whistle.

Club finals
The scores
University 3, Albany 2
Taieri 1, University 0


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