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STAC vs Christ's in hockey final

Jasmine Ng
Steven Walton

St Andrews College are the favourites in Friday night's Secondary Schools premier hockey final against defending champions Christ's College.

Christ's College First XI manager Darrell Thatcher said it would be a traditional final as the two teams have battled for the title a few times before.

Both sides have won the title three times since the opening of the Friday night boys' competition in 2012.

"At the end of the day [being the first to win the fourth title] will be a bragging right," Thatcher said.

The St Andrew's side have been marked as the stronger team as they haven't lost a game this season.

"We got a lot of experience in there and got some key older guys who have been away for national tournaments already this year," co-coach Ben Owers said.

"In finals anything can happen. The boys mentally have to prepare well and be prepared for a big crowd and the pressure," Owers said. 

Christ's College had a slow start to their season despite being the 2017 national winners. Thatcher said the team had a hangover from last year but they are now playing more as a team and understand what the game plan is.

"Getting there, from the start that we had to where we are now, it's quite rewarding and satisfying to see that process, it makes it a bit more special that we made the final and we managed to work through those challenges," Thatcher said.  

Owers said that Christ's College's slow start makes them dangerous as they are going into the game as underdogs.

"In some ways the pressure is on STAC, because on paper they are the strongest team," Thatcher said. "[Christ's College's] boys look forward to these challenges, they look forward to the big games. They do step up to it, having had that success last year they know they can do it."

Both teams will be going to the Secondary Schoolboy Hockey Nationals in September despite tomorrow night's results. "Whichever one takes [out tomorrow's final] will go [into Nationals] with a bit more confidence that they can win the big games, especially when they are up against all the North Island teams," Thatcher said. 

Friday's final will take place at Marist Park and is scheduled to begin at 7.30pm.