Praise for coaching ‘legend’

There was one person mentioned repeatedly after Te Awamutu Intermediate came third at the Waikato Intermediate and Middle Schools hockey tournament this month – coach Sally Davies.

“Sally lives and breathes hockey and her energy, drive, passion and dedication to all things hockey is astounding,” said teacher in charge of hockey Kylie Morrison.

“She has supported the school for years – she gives up hours and hours of her time – she’s amazing.”

Like the year 7 and 8 players, Davies was all smiles when her team won a tense play-off at Hamilton’s Gallagher Hockey Centre to finish third out of eight at the regional tournament.

The Waipā side beat Maeroa Intermediate 1-0, lost to Fairfield Intermediate 1-0 and then beat Morrinsville Intermediate 5-2 in pool play, advancing to a semifinal against eventual tournament winners Cambridge Middle School.

After losing the semifinal 4-1, Te Awamutu took on Matamata Intermediate in a tense play-off for third which ended scoreless prompting a penalty shootout.

Captain Finn Titchener, 12, said the side missed three and got two but so too did Matamata.

“So we had to do sudden death.  Matamata went first, but they missed, so our player did a left-to-right drag and got it in the goal.”

Devon Howells, had done exactly what his coach had asked him to do – draw the goalie out and shoot.

“It was good, but I did not feel good before it started; I was terrified,” Howells,13, admitted.

Player of the day was year 8 student Cory Higham, who scored Te Awamutu’s two goals in their third pool game against Morrinsville.

The students all thanked their coach, who Morrison described as a “hockey legend”.

Morrison teamed up with Davies to run hockey at the school in 2015 and said she was “like another nana” to the players.

“She has even written to Waikato Hockey on behalf of students whose parents can’t afford the substantial fees, to insist that they waive them for the benefit of the child,” she said.

“Every year, I stand up at our end of season prizegiving and talk about what an absolute legend this woman is and how lucky we are to have her.

“In simple terms, she is the reason hockey at Te Awamutu Intermediate has gone from strength to strength since her return in 2015.”

Te Awamutu Intermediate hockey coach Sally Davies (left) shares the moment as (from left) Lennox Priscott, Jack Stroobant, Finn Titchener and Cory Higham swamp Devon Howells, who has just scored a golden goal to secure third place for his team at the Waikato Intermediate and Middle Schools hockey tournament in Hamilton.

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