Archibald all fired up for club hockey

Central Leader - - SPORT - By ALAS­TAIR LYNN

Off the back of an elec­tri­fy­ing win over Australia, Black Sticks mid­fielder Ryan Archibald is back in Auck­land and ready to take on the club scene.

An in­te­gral part of New Zealand’s 3-1 penalty shoot-out win in hockey’s Sul­tan Azlan Shah Cup fi­nal, Archibald stepped up to clinch the side’s third and fi­nal goal.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously there’s quite a bit of pres­sure when it comes to those shootout sit­u­a­tions,’’ the West­mere res­i­dent says.

‘‘You just want to do your job and make sure you score your goal ... I was just re­lieved re­ally.’’

On the cam­paign to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a win over the world’s best side has been a great achieve­ment for Archibald and his team-mates.

‘‘It’s great for our con­fi­dence go­ing for­ward to know that we can not only com­pete but knock over the world No 1 team. It would be nice to make it more regular.’’

Com­ing off such an elat­ing win, it could be un­der­stood that re­turn­ing home might pro­vide the chance for some well de­served rest.

How­ever for Archibald this is sim­ply a tran­si­tion into a much-loved lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion, where he will step out for his Somerville club.

‘‘I’ve al­ways en­joyed my club hockey,’’ he says.

‘‘My fam­ily has a very strong as­so­ci­a­tion with the Somerville club, I’m a third gen­er­a­tion player there.

‘‘I al­ways look for­ward to re­turn­ing.’’

In re­cent years the Auck­land hockey scene has seen a sig­nif­i­cant step up in com­pe­ti­tion.

Archibald says the cur­rent sea­son is likely to see some hard-fought games.

‘‘There’s prob­a­bly five or six teams that are all re­ally com­pet­i­tive.

‘‘It’s not a mat­ter of turn­ing up and know­ing you’re go­ing to win.

‘‘If you don’t play well there’s a very real chance you won’t win.’’

Mak­ing his de­but for New Zealand in 1997, hockey is some­thing that has taken the 34-year-old all across the world.

A five-year stint play­ing pro­fes­sion­ally in Hol­land, two years with the Kalinga Lancers in the Hero Hockey In­dia League and nu­mer­ous Olympic Games ap­pear­ances are a few of the re­wards his hard work has pro­duced.

Hockey is an am­a­teur sport in New Zealand so bal­anc­ing sport with his ca­reer has al­ways been a chal­lenge.

Be­ing the busi­ness devel­op­ment and sales manager for En­vi­rowaste, find­ing the sweet spot be­tween both has been key to a suc­cess­ful hockey ca­reer.

‘‘It helps to have an un­der­stand­ing em­ployer,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s al­ways a chal­lenge but I’ve al­ways felt study and ca­reer have al­ways been im­por­tant.

‘‘I’ve treated those on equal foot­ing and it’s just that maybe one year hockey is a higher pri­or­ity.’’

Archibald is look­ing for­ward to some big changes to come in the club scene.

‘‘The Auck­land com­pe­ti­tion is merg­ing with the North Har­bour com­pe­ti­tion this year.

‘‘It’s a new thing for hockey in the Auck­land re­gion and I hope that it’s go­ing to be a re­ally pos­i­tive change.’’

Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Ryan Archibald in ac­tion against Bel­gium in the Lon­don 2012 Olympic Games.

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