A strong start will be vital for Mid Canterbury if they’re to have a shot at winning hockey’s Ian Smith Trophy in Cromwell this weekend.
But they know they’ll have their work cut out for them.
Mid Canterbury – which is a team largely made up of members of Mid Canterbury’s sole team in the Mid/South Canterbury senior men’s competition, Wakanui – have drawn a tough beginning to the three-day tournament.
When the tournament gets under way tomorrow they’ll face games against defending champions Eastern Southland in the morning, before taking on the Invercargill representatives in the afternoon.
Mid Canterbury captain Sam Moore said both teams will be tough opposition, but it all comes down to performances on the day.
“They’re two reasonably tough teams, so if we get over the line against those guys we will be pretty well set,” Moore said.
The Ian Smith Trophy tournament is held every Queen’s Birthday Weekend and sees six associations – Mid Canterbury, North Otago, South Canterbury, Eastern Southland, Central Otago and Invercargill – battle it out for the end prize.
Moore said it’s about five or six years since Mid Canterbury last won the Ian Smith Trophy, with that last win coming the last time the tournament was held in Cromwell.
Last year, Mid Canterbury struggled and finished fifth, with Eastern Southland taking out the title.
“We drew with South Canterbury on the last day, which stopped us from getting last, but it also stopped them from winning, so we counted that as a win,” Moore said.
This year’s tournament is the 63rd time the Ian Smith Trophy has been contested, and Moore and his team would love to see Mid Canterbury’s name etched come Monday.
They know their chances will be determined by their first two games though.
“Because the core of the Wakanui team will be going along, we should be ok, but if we don’t get a win on Saturday it’ll make life pretty tough for us,” Moore said.