By Brent Matehaere | Posted: Thursday September 13, 2018
Otago Boys' fielded teams at both the South Island Junior Premiership and the South Island Senior Qualification Tournament. These were in Nelson and Invercargill respectively. This represented over 2000km of travel and 8 days of tournament play.
Beginning with the Junior Tournament in Nelson 9 players; J Reeves, J Butterfield, X Chisholm, J Burnside, O Cashmore, E Hill, E Wykes, J Bolwell and B Caulfield played 6 with a 3 win and 3 loss record. Finishing at the wrong end of a three way tie with St Bede's and Middleton Grange meant that the team contested the 13 - 18 place division. Winning the first two games comfortably by 40 plus points demonstrated the improvement this team has made through the season. Beating St Kevin's by 42 points meant a 50 point improvement as we had lost to the very same team 3 months earlier in the Otago competition. More is to come from this group and with the comment being made on return to Dunedin "When can we start training again?" Continued development will certainly lead to more success in the senior school. A huge thank you must go to former stand out OBHS guard Darcy Knox who came as Assistant Coach. His counsel on the sideline was superb and he will be a huge boost to the coaching staff at Otago Boys' next year.
In the senior tournament we were seeded in the pool of death with St Andrew's, Christchurch Boys', Christ's, and King's. Having to win at least one game on day one to stay in the tournament the boys really fronted up and went one better beating St AC by 4 and CBHS by a comprehensive 24 point. Taking care of King's in the morning should have set up a reasonable contest with Christ's to confirm top placing in the pool. Unfortunately no one had mentioned this to Christ's who shot an impressive 50% from the 3 point line and edged us by 4 points. A loss of 17 would have seen us eliminated on count back. We were down 14 at one stage with fewer hairs now found on the coaches heads. A quarter final match up with Waimea College and a guaranteed place at nationals on the line we were again torched by an in form Year 10 Joshua Book who had an astounding 26 at half time. They were too good for us on the day and OB's had to front up against Rangiora to gain a place at nationals. A poor start defensively saw us having to grind a lead on the back of some strong play on the inside and we took a 15 point lead into the final quarter. What looked to be an easy win soon became a battle with fatigue as we tried to not let the wheels completely fall off towards the end of the game. A sense of relief was felt at the final buzzer with a 6 point win.
The final game was a war of attrition with St AC again and they came out on top in a battle of the bench as starting players nursed their injuries. The team are looking towards nationals and putting in the work to gain improvements over the next few weeks.
Nationals begin 1 October in Palmerston North.