Smolbag Smashers in Bowl Final at Suva Sixes

A team made up of young men affiliated with Wan Smolbag's Yut Senta made their way to Fiji over the Easter long weekend for an invitational six-a-side tournament.

Competing as the first-ever Vanuatu hockey team the boys, dubbed the 'Smolbag Smashers', did their country proud with a gallant effort over the entire weekend and stunned their Fijian contemporaries as to the speed and raw talent on offer from west of the pond.

Arrival in Suva on Thursday afternoon saw a warm-up match with a local team from the University of South Pacific. After a nervous start the visitors took the upper hand, finishing strongly with a comfortable 2 - nil victory with goals going to the Namu brothers, Onis and Hiro.
The real action was underway early Friday morning with the Smashers taking on the Bobcats from Suva. Down 3 - 1 at halftime the boys rallied with two quick goals to Bob Iawila and Ross Fraser, setting the game up for an exciting climax. However some costly errors under pressure handed the Bobcats victory with a sigh of relief and a 5 goals to 4 scoreline. Onis Namu the other goalscorer.

Game 2 was against the Stingers from Suva. While the boys were out-gunned the 5 - 1 scoreline wasn't a true reflection of the tight tussle with plenty of chances from the Smashers only resulting in the one goal to Bob Iawila.

The third game of the day was a test of stamina against a strong Ventures II team also from Suva. The large field format a hinderance to the many chances the Smashers created, finally going down 4 goals to nil.

Saturday opened with the Bowl Trophy Semi-Final and a resounding 3 - 1 victory for the Smolbag boys. Short sharp passing was the order of the day as they ran rings around the long hitting style of the Seals II team from Suva. Robin Warren and Jeremy Joe showed some admirable work in defense while Jesse Bakeo started to hit top form.

The Bowl Final drew the only Nadi club at the tournament and while the Smashers showed some solid structure and patient build up the missing link was converting opportunities resulting in a 4 goals to 1 scoreline at the whistle.

Goalkeeper Danny Willie was outstanding throughout all games, saving numerous hard hits from the opposition. The midfield running of Onis Namu, Kalanga Nalau, Ross Fraser and Bob Iawila provided a solid core structure for the team.

Coach and manager Krista Lee-Jones labelled the weekend a triumph for experience and is very proud of the boys' performance. All involved hope to follow on this hockey success with increased numbers in the local competition that takes place every Wednesday and Sunday evenings at Wan Smolbag sportsfield from 5pm.


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Preparations are under way for Oceania Intercontinental cup in Sydney Australia.The Mens team will be hoping to go more better than the silver they won at last year in world league round 1! Team to be announced soon! Hopefully both Men and Women team will be competed in the tournament.

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