Originally appeared on Stuff.co.nz

Six Nelson hockey masters players bring home trans-Tasman gold medals

Originally posted on Stuff.co.nz

Six of Nelson’s 13 representatives have returned from the recent trans-Tasman masters hockey test series in Whangarei with gold medals.

The week-long biennial series involved New Zealand’s and Australia’s top men’s and women’s masters players in the 35s, 40s, 45s, 50s, 55s and 60s age groups

Along with individual team points for each grade’s three-test series, total points from all six grades were also collated to determine to overall Trans-Tasman Challenge Trophy.

This year New Zealand produced some very competitive teams and the overall results came down to the last two games on the final day, Australia narrowly taking the silverware 55-52.

Nelson’s Jay Sigley and Diane Webb were part of the New Zealand 35s women’s which hadn’t lost in the last four series. New Zealand drew the first test before convincingly winning the second test 3-1 and then taking gold with a 2-0 win in game three.

The 50s men included Nelson players Brett Butcher, Mike Gafa, Nick Perrott and Craig Brett who all contributed to the white-wash of a very good Australian side, winning the first test 5-0, the second 1-0 and the third 2-0.

None of the four had won a trans-Tasman series gold in the past with all of them having contested up to previous series – Brett having made seven attempts to win one in various age groups over the last 14 years.

In the other grades, the 40s women, including Nelson’s Jacky Day and Karen Eden, were denied gold when they drew their last game and lost the test series on a penalty shootout after the results were tied up and equal on goal average.

The Australian 40s men were too good for Jaron Steffens’ team winning all their encounters.

The 45s men’s team, including Gene Cooper and Mark Gibbons, the Kiwis had to win the last game to take gold, but could only manage a draw and lost on goal average. The 60s men, with Tim Brenton and Jimmy Matthews, also had to win the last game, but could only secure a draw.

Nelson’s Jan Wilson was also involved at the series as an umpire.

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