Allrounder making stick shift

NZ Herald:

Kristin School first XI hockey star Henry Will also juggled club hockey and a season of first XV rugby with his school commitments.

Kristin first XI boys’ hockey team’s fine 2016 season cannot be attributed to just one player, but it is fair to say captain Henry Will was a key cog in their rise.

The 17-year-old year 13 striker scored more than 50 goals from open play and penalty corner drag flicks in leading his side to both the SuperCity final and decider of the recent Mayhill Cup tournament.

Ably assisted on the turf by the likes of the two Connors, Greentree and Petrie, Will says having some coaching continuity in the form of second-year mentor Sam Bartholomew has also been helpful.

Black Stick Shiloh Gloyn, who had an untimely injury that ruled her out of Rio Olympics contention, is Kristin’s teacher in charge of hockey and oversees both the boys’ and girls’ programmes. The girls’ first XI have also enjoyed a fine season, beating Westlake GHS to take the North Harbour title.

“It’s good to have [Shiloh] because she knows what it takes to get to that elite level,” Will said.

He has spent four seasons in the first XI and feels that, despite his imminent departure and that of other senior players, Kristin can kick on in 2017. They contested their first SuperCity final and, although that ended in disappointment with a 6-1 reverse to a strong Auckland Grammar side, the building blocks are in place for consistent success.

“Now that we’ve seen what it takes to get to that level, we’ll keep building on that,” he said. “There’s a good, solid nucleus of players.”

Will enjoys the Kristin style of hockey.

“We play an attacking, fast-paced style, with long balls and using our speed. It’s good fun.”

Although Kristin placed third in North Harbour, they beat big rivals Westlake BHS three times in 2016 to clinch the Bartholomew Cup, so have a claim on being the top boys’ hockey school in Harbour.

“Westlake is the big scalp in Harbour schools hockey,” Will said. “This is the first year I’ve beaten them. They won the Rankin Cup last year. Rosmini and Kingsway have good hockey programmes as well.”

Kristin qualified for the 2017 Rankin Cup by making the 2016 Mayhill final, although they dropped that match to MAGS.

“We’ve always been consistent, but have taken a big step up this year in how we competed.”

Will has been busy in 2016, playing first XV rugby on Saturdays for Kristin and then schools hockey on Wednesday evenings. When he can, he fits in premier club hockey for Takapuna, not to mention North Harbour under-21s and under-18s representative action. Throw in his senior year studies, and something has to give.

Hockey will not be that sport. He is already marked as a Junior Black Stick and has designs on making the 2017 North Harbour NHL squad.

“It was good to play first XI and first XV, but I can’t really handle it going forward. You have to focus on one sport eventually,” said Will, who says in peak hockey season he attends 8-9 training sessions a week.

“Time management is good enough now, but it did drop off in peak season. It’s been a good lesson.”

Outside of sport, he’d like to hook into tertiary study, perhaps in physiotherapy.

By Campbell Burnes

Photo / Doug Sherring