Shield changes hands again

The challenge shield changed hands for the fifth time in eight weeks on Saturday as the Dunedin men's premier hockey compeitition continues to surprise, with Taieri winning easily.

For the second time this season, University had to defend the shield first up against Taieri Tuataras.

The Taieri side was coming off the back of a tough few games, slipping from first to fourth on the ladder.

University was looking to avenge its first-round loss but came into this game with not a great form line, either.

The Tuataras started off on fire and had a gilt-edged chance early on. However, a pinpoint overhead pass by Finn Ward into the circle soon after allowed Matt Deller to open the scoring.

The Whales struck back in the quarter, but Jordan Ward regained the lead for Taieri with a lightning flick off the team's first penalty corner.

The match remained 2-1 for the rest of the first half and a real battle was developing. The Whales midfield combination of Tim Kerr, Kailin Dayal and Callum Dempster was causing all sorts of trouble but the side could not finish.

Jordan Ward completed his brace midway through the third quarter and Taieri really lifted with the two-goal lead. The students started to get a little ragged and Taieri was able to take full toll.

The fourth quarter become a bit of a massacre as Ward continued to torment the University side. Two further drag flicks left him with four goals.

Some slick interplay and one touch passing allowed Deller to add a second and Tom Jolly got on the board as the score blew out to 7-1.

In other matches over the weekend, Southland defended home territory in Gore, winning 3-0 over University B, Albany claimed top of the table, beating Kings United 1-0, and in the final catch-up match on Sunday the Whales got back on track with a 7-3 win against Uni B Panthers.

Points table: Albany 24, Kings and Uni A 20, Taieri 18, Southland 9, Uni B 2.

-By Matthew West

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