The University of Waikato men’s hockey team, new on the tertiary sports scene, went to their national tournament in Wellington last week and returned home winners.
The University and Tertiary Sport New Zealand (UTSNZ) national tertiary hockey championship was played over four days with six university teams competing -- Waikato, Auckland, AUT, Victoria, Otago and Canterbury.
Coached by student Matt Rees-Gibbs, the Waikato team lost just one of its pool games, qualifying for the final against University of Auckland. They won that match 3-2 and afterwards, four Waikato players were selected for the national tournament team. They were Joshua Rainey, Ross Stembridge, Taz Nicholson (goalie) and Tom Vosper.
This was the first time Waikato had fielded a men’s hockey team for the tertiary competition, and the first win for Waikato at a UTSNZ national event.
The UTSNZ national sporting competition began in 2016 and covers eight sports; Basketball (3x3 and 5x5), Futsal, Rugby Sevens, Badminton, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Hockey and Netball. The organisation is currently focused on reviving competitive inter-tertiary sporting competitions, lifting the standard of these competitions and developing pathways to international opportunities.