Boys - 1st XI - vs Nelson College, Friday 3 September 2010 at India Shield Tournament, Nelson

The final day of India Shield Tournament for 2010 pitted the MAGS team up against the local team, Nelson College contesting the 3rd/4th positions. Thankfully the warm up was completed in dry conditions, however that changed as soon as the game started when the weather turned from warm and windy to wet, cold and windy conditions.

For the sixth game at tournament we let the opposition into the game and before the MAGS team had settled the Nelson College team had scored a field goal in the second minute of the game. However, the MAGS team was quicker to settle into their game plan and the deterioration in the weather did not seem to affect their play although it was bitterly cold for about 30 minutes. Terry Gada playing in the left wing position has grown in confidence throughout the tournament and would be one of the most improved players this week. He was able to trap and pass and get around his opposite and make the space required to get the ball up the turf. However, the MAGS team was hard on defence for much of the first half and they valiantly kept out four penalty corner attempts on goal by the Nelson College team late in the first half.

Half time score: 0-1 Nelson College

The MAGS team were getting a name for themselves as the "comeback from behind team",  so at half time the team were not fazed by the position they had become accustomed to being in - it was just the management who were struggling with the position game after game! In the third minute of the second half the MAGS team had an opportunity to equalize having four attempts at slotting the ball into the goal but each time the defence were able to repel the attempt.

The weather improved and the MAGS team began to show the hockey they had played all week and they started to rattle the Nelson College team who expected to win convincingly, which we found out after the game. Once again it was the trio of Till Dorendorf, Daniel Panchia and Sye Jones who led the pushes forward into the Nelson College circle and Jono Sinclair joined the domination in the midfield. A Nelson College player was yellow-carded and spent five minutes on the sideline midway through the second half but the MAGS team was not able to crack the defence. In the 19th minute a push out of defense saw Till Dorendorf bring the ball forward from his own 22m and pass and receive the ball back again and then drive into the Nelson College circle and slot his first goal of the season.

This was a fitting end to his season of hockey with the Mount Albert Grammar School 1st XI Hockey team. The equalizer spurred both teams back into action, with Nelson College realizing that their one goal advantage was not enough and they started to feel the pressure from their bench and supporters and they made uncharacteristic errors. The MAGS team had two penalty corners awarded in the 21st and 22nd minutes but neither could be converted into goals. In the 24th minute goalkeeper Devin Falvey made an excellent save after he was forced to come out high to the top of his circle and prevent a certain goal from being scored. Both teams showed signs of weariness and tired legs as miracle balls were sent and did not find sticks, instead finding open spaces. The clock was ticking and although all 15 players had taken the turf during the final game of the tournament, it was not enough to win. The final whistle sounded and with the teams level on a draw they both share the 3rd= place, which was a great birthday present for the coach.

The MAGS team remains unbeaten in regulation time and only lost one game, the semi final after penalty strokes. It has been a fantastic week of hockey for the MAGS team who have played some wonderful hockey after being ranked in last place, 16th, in the tournament and to have finished 3rd= is a real credit to the individual players and their tenacity and determination throughout the week. The school motto Per Angusta Ad Augusta, through hardship to glory, seems an apt description of the journey this team has taken this week. The Player of the Match was awarded to Jono Sinclair who had played solidly throughout the week, even after receiving an injury to his finger early on during pool play.

Full time score: 1-1 Draw
Final Placing: 3rd=
Goal scorer: Till Dorendorf
Player of the Match: Jono Sinclair
Most Valuable Player for MAGS at the Tournament: Sye Jones

To Dali Fan, Chris Bascombe and Till Dorendorf who have played their last game for MAGS, we wish you well in your future and we hope hockey is part of your life.
To those returning: Sye Jones, Cameron Anderson, Cameron Cranston, Troy Martin, Daniel Panchia, Jono Sinclair, Devin Falvey, Jeremy Barnett, Wade Somani, Mitchell Bascombe, Sean Donald and Terry Gada, we look forward to the challenges Rankin Cup will bring in 2011.