The annual Royal New Zealand Navy Inter-Ship Hockey Tournament was held on 28 May, at North Harbour Hockey Stadium, in Auckland, New Zealand. HMAS Choules was alongside Auckland for a port visit, so the ship’s company was invited to participate in the event.
“The event is held to promote the game, unearth new players for the New Zealand Navy team, and promote relationships with other organisations. All areas of New Zealand Defence, and visiting foreign units, are invited to participate in the tournament,” said Commander Phil Eagle of the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Chairman of RNZN hockey.
Six teams lined up to compete on the day, including four from the Royal New Zealand Navy, one from the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and Choules, which solely represented the Royal Australian Navy.
Each team was required to compete in five games, with the top two teams playing each other in a grand final. All games were played on half sized fields as the teams were seven-a-side, and the games were played in two 10 minute halves.
Choules endured a tough start, playing in the first three games with no substitutes, followed by a two game break and a barbeque lunch. After a delicious lunch, the Aussies played two more games, using players from other teams as substitutes.
The Choules team started well by winning game one over Rotoiti, a combined Royal New Zealand Navy Small Boats team. But, despite leading all of their other games until deep into the second half, Choules was unable to hold on and win another game. Unfortunately, with one win and four losses, the Choules team did not collect enough points in the minor rounds to gain a place in the final.
Regardless of the result, the players enjoyed the competition and the hospitality shown by their hosts, and particularly enjoyed watching the Royal New Zealand Navy compete against the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the final. In an interesting twist to a Navy Inter-ship competition, RNZAF Whenuapai was the victorious team, defeating Logistics Command - Maritime (RNZN Philomel).
In brand new ship strips, Choules was represented by Leading Seaman Physical Trainer James Walker, and the players were Midshipman Cavanagh, Able Seaman Electronic Technician William Perry, Able Seaman Electric Technician Jason Rutherford, Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Supply Chain Hayden Eyles, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Egan, Seaman Boatswains Mate Nuhu Jimah, and Seaman Boatswains Mate Cowin Campbell.