The 10th edition of the Wellington Open in 2014 saw great participation of 14 teams (10 men and 4 women teams).
The tournament was stretched over two days to accommodated the amount of games and also to allow New Zealand’s Handball community to strengthen their bond.
The Women competition hosted four teams, three out of the Wellington Region and one Auckland Team. The Auckland Team contained mainly foreigners and was therefore the favourite from the start. At this tournament only the women from Vic Uni seem to have had a chance to spoil Auckland’s road to Victory but unfortunately two close loses (one in the pool games and the grand final) were not good enough to overcome Auckland.
The other two teams, Spartanz and Vikings, consist mainly of young Kiwi girls who just started to play Handball. Both teams showed great team spirit and improved heaps throughout the tournament. In the Small Final, the Spartanz won to take the third place.
Final Standings – Women
1. Auckland Uni HC
2. Vic Uni HC
3. Spartanz HC
4. Vikings HC
The men competition was the strongest ever participation seen at a New Zealand Tournament. The Wellington Region welcomed 10 teams – four from Wellington, two from Auckland, one from each Christchurch, Palmerston North and New Plymouth, as well as the NZ Under 20 National Team.
Taken the results from previous years, it was expected to see both Auckland teams, the Canterbury team and the two top Wellington teams (Vic Uni and Vikings) fighting for the title.
After the first few games in the Pool round it was obvious that Canterbury could not hold the standards set by the Auckland and two top Wellington teams. So the showdown between Auckland and Wellington happened in the decisive pool matches. In Pool A, it seemed the Vikings are steam rolling over all teams and as last pool games the Auckland Pirates were ready to give them a fight. This was an epic game, going back and fourth and at the end the more experienced Auckland players kept their cool and survived the young guns from Vikings while taken a 21:20 win.
Behind the two top teams, Canterbury showed off their experience against rather young and inexperienced teams from the Spartanz and from Massey Uni to secure the third place in the pool. In the last game of the pool rounds the Spartanz took the win versus Massey (21:12),
In Pool B, Vic Uni and Auckland City were clear favourites and showed their class in each game, evenly aiming towards the top of the pool. In the decisive game versus each other Auckland City were able to build a small lead early in the game which Vic Uni could not erase. The final score was 16:13, which then lifted Auckland City to the top of Pool B. Behind these two teams there was an epic battle for place three between the teams from Taranaki and the Hutt Hawks. As the Hutt Hawks were runner-up last year you could believe they would be clear favourite but the decisive game versus Taranaki was the first in the Pool rounds and surprisingly was won by Taranaki, their first win versus the Hutt Hawks ever, which secured them the third place in the group.
The NZ Under 20 was entered to allow players some game time together as preparation for the upcoming IHF trophy (Oceania) but it was clear that the experience of the vast majority of all other participants were too much for them. To be fair, some key players of the U20 team focused playing for their clubs, and therefore the U20 could not play with their strongest possible team.
The Grand final between Auckland Pirates and Auckland City, was again a battle for the history book. A very intense game, with teams fighting for the win, It was a nail biter that was won by the Auckland Pirates. Again the older and slighly more experienced team won here probably benefiting from keeping their head a bit cooler when it counted in decisive moments of the game.
Final Standing Men
1. Auckland Pirates HC
2. Auckland City HC
3. Vic Uni HC
4. Vikings HC
5. Canterbury Braves HC
6. Taranaki HC
7. Hutt Hawks HC
8. Spartanz HC
9. NZ Under 20
10. Massey Mustangs HC
Congratulations to the Auckland Uni women and Auckland Pirates men. Well deserved winners of the 2014 Wellington Open.
|Massey Mustangs HC||vs||Canterbury Braves HC||5:19|
|Auckland Pirates HC||vs||Spartanz HC||31:14|
|Massey Mustangs HC||vs||Vikings HC||9:40|
|Canterbury Braves HC||vs||Auckland Pirates HC||13:18|
|Spartanz HC||vs||Vikings HC||9:27|
|Massey Mustangs HC||vs||Auckland Pirates HC||10:32|
|Canterbury Braves HC||vs||Vikings HC||18:26|
|Canterbury Braves HC||vs||Spartanz HC||22:14|
|Auckland Pirates HC||vs||Vikings HC||21:20|
|Massey Mustangs HC||vs||Spartanz HC||12:21|
|Table Pool A|
|1.||Auckland Pirates HC||4||0||0||12||102:57||+45|
|3.||Canterbury Braves HC||2||0||2||6||72:63||+9|
|5.||Massey Mustangs HC||0||0||4||0||36:112||-76|
|Taranaki HC||vs||Hutt Hawks HC||16:13|
|NZ Under 20||vs||Vic Uni HC||15:33|
|Taranaki HC||vs||Auckland City HC||8:26|
|Hutt Hawks HC||vs||NZ Under 20||26:18|
|Vic Uni HC||vs||Auckland City HC||16:19|
|Taranaki HC||vs||NZ Under 20||18:15|
|Hutt Hawks HC||vs||Auckland City HC||17:27|
|Taranaki HC||vs||Vic Uni HC||14:23|
|NZ Under 20||vs||Auckland City HC||17:21|
|Hutt Hawks HC||vs||Vic Uni HC||16:33|
|Table Pool B|
|1.||Auckland City HC||4||0||0||12||93:58||+35|
|2.||Vic Uni HC||3||0||1||9||105:64||+41|
|4.||Hutt Hawks HC||1||0||3||3||72:94||-22|
|5.||NZ Under 20||0||0||4||0||65:98||-33|
|Game for Place 9|
|Massey Mustangs HC||vs||NZ Under 20||14:36|
|Game for Place 7|
|Spartanz HC||vs||Hutt Hawks HC||21:31|
|Game for Place 5|
|Canterbury Braves HC||vs||Taranaki HC||16:13|
|Vikings HC||vs||Vic Uni HC||26:36|
|Auckland Pirates HC||vs||Auckland City HC||14:12|
|Vic Uni HC||vs||Spartanz HC||14:8|
|Auckland Uni HC||vs||Vikings HC||29:10|
|Vic Uni HC||vs||Auckland Uni HC||10:13|
|Spartanz HC||vs||Vikings HC||9:8|
|Vic Uni HC||vs||Vikings HC||28:12|
|Auckland Uni HC||vs||Spartanz HC||26:8|
|Table Pool C|
|1.||Auckland Uni HC||3||0||0||9||68:28||+40|
|2.||Vic Uni HC||2||0||1||6||52:33||+19|
|Vic Uni HC||vs||Spartanz HC||19:12|
|Auckland Uni HC||vs||Vikings HC||28:13|
|Spartanz HC||vs||Vikings HC||18:5|
|Auckland Uni HC||vs||Vic Uni HC||16:13|