|Mixed conditions greeted teams for round five of the Wimmera Hockey Association season, with teams enjoying a game time in the middle of the day on Saturday experiencing mild conditions, but those with a morning or evening game endured very cold conditions.
Despite this some high quality hockey was played, and with all teams now having played each opponent once, the ladders are taking shape.
The spectators who braved the cold conditions were treated to three very fast and skilful games in the Open division, and although the scores suggest one-sided games, the reality on the field was that the winning teams had to work hard to finish ahead.
On Friday evening the Dimboola Burras and Nhill Rangers began their game at a fast pace, with both teams scoring within three minutes of the start, and kept it up for the whole 70 minutes.
After the early flurry of scoring, the first half was a very even contest with both teams creating scoring opportunities, but solid defences prevented any further scoring before the break.
In the second half, the Burras stepped up the pressure, and although the Rangers tried hard to match them, the Burras scored a further four goals to finish with a comfortable five goal win.
Win this result the Dimboola team has firmed their grip on a place in the top three, and although it is a setback for the Nhill team, they remain in the top four and continue to show they will have a significant influence on the makeup of the ladder this season.
This week it was the Kaniva Cobras who came up against the strength of the Yanac Tigers and they endured the same end result as all of the other teams in this division.
The Yanac team finishes the first third of the season undefeated and it is difficult to see who will be the first to defeat them this year.
On Saturday the Tigers finished with five goals and kept the Cobras scoreless.
In the final game of the round the Warrack Hoops put together one of their best games so far this season, with the Horsham Hurricanes unable to counter their multiple avenues forward and also finished with five goals.
The Hoops now hold second place on the ladder but will have to work hard to stay there, and the Hurricanes are lurking in fifth place but well within reach of those above them.
Although playing below the best hockey that they have displayed over recent seasons, the Dimboola Roos finished just ahead of the Nhill Thunderbirds in a very tight game on Friday evening, but they had to play hard to register a two goals to one win.
Roos’ goal scoring regular Adina King opened the scoring early in the first half, but not to be out done, Ellie Murden goaled with ten minutes remaining in the first half to have the scores tied at half time.
Both teams played very evenly matched hockey throughout the second half, with the only difference being a goal to Catherine Finlay of the Roos’ half way through the period of play.
Penalty corners were earned at both ends of the field but none resulted in any more goals, and the game ended in a Roo’s win which sees them remain in second place on the ladder, equal on points with Kaniva and only one win ahead of the Thunderbirds.
Yanac continue to dominate this competition, and on this occasion it was Kaniva who were unable to counter the teamwork and precision of play from the reigning premiers. Erin Alexander scored two of Yanac’s four goals and was named as her team’s best player, and team mate Carmel Beattie also scored once and was named as one of the best players.
Whilst Kaniva were unable to find their goals, Sharon Williams was strong in defence and Lisa Stimson tried hard up forward without success on this occasion.
Yanac remain undefeated after five rounds and Kaniva continue to hold third place, continuing the recent improvement after many seasons at the bottom of the ladder.
Two goals in the first half by the Horsham Jets, followed by another three after the break could not be answered by an under-manned Warrack Women’s team, which has seen the Jets climb into the top four for the first time this season, and has left Warracknabeal still searching for their first points for 2019.
The Jets regular leading players including Launa Schilling, Carmel Lawson and Rebecca Batchelor as beginning to find some good form, which is reflected in their team’s rise up the ladder, and whilst a few of the Warracknabeal regulars were missing on Saturday, this has given the opportunity for the next group of players to step up and show what they are capable of. Ruth McNamara controlled the midfield and Tiffany Bull and Tasha Engelbrecht were solid in defence.
Having reached the point in the season where they have played each opponent once, the Yanac Warriors remain undefeated, with the Kaniva Raiders the latest team to struggle to combat the disciplined play of the reigning premiers.
One positive for the Raiders is that by restricting their opponent to just five goals, they are the team to finish the closest to them so far this season, and they are the first team to score against the strong Warriors’ defenders.
A polished display by the Warrack Revengers gave them the points from their clash with the Horsham Bombers, although the final score did not fully represent how close the game was on the field.
The Revengers enjoyed a one goal advantage, off the stick of Heath Johns, after a very even first half, which was matched by Lars Simmons of the Bombers soon after the start of the second half.
Warrack regained the lead when a shot at goal rebounded off the goal post back into play swhere it was pounced upon by Cooper Mills who scored.
Further scores by Leah Eilola and Ben Williamson extended the margin to four goals to one by the end of the game.
Defenders Serena Foot and Ben Woodhart were amongst the Bombers best players.
The Dimboola Kangaroos and Nhill Leopards played out an entertaining draw with both teams scoring twice, including one goal by Chloe Baker of the Kangaroos within three seconds of the final whistle to salvage the draw.
Under 12 Development Program
Another round of close games saw the Yanac Lowan Stars defeated the Kaniva Rampagers by three goals, the Warrack Avengers overcome the Horsham Black Hawks by two goals to one and the Nhill Bandits finished ahead of the Dimboola Kookaburras.
Next Week - Senior Country Championships
Next weekend all local teams will enjoy a week off as the Victorian Senior Country Championships are held in Geelong and Melbourne.
For only the second time in its history which dates back to the mid 1980s, the Wimmera Hockey Association’s Men’s competition will not be represented by a team at this tournament, but the Women will be sending a strong representative team to Geelong.
A squad of sixteen players from the Dimboola, Horsham, Kaniva and Nhill clubs, along with a coach and team manager will represent the Wimmera on the turf pitches at Geelong’s Stead Park.
Rostered to play in the Pool B of B-2 division, the Wimmera team will play against Warrnambool on Saturday morning and meet North Central late in the afternoon.
The next day the Latrobe Valley will be their opponent in their last pool match, which will be followed in the afternoon by the first round of cross over matches with teams from the B-1 pool to determine which playoff game each team will qualify for on Monday.
The teams in pool A, from which their opponent for the game on Sunday afternoon will come, include Maryborough, Portland, East Gippsland and West Gippsland.
The men will not be totally unrepresented, with a number of local players accepting the opportunity to play for other Associations in the Open division competition which will be hosted at the Hawthorn Hockey Centre in Melbourne.
Round Five Results
Dimboola Burras 5 (Goals - L Schultz 2, C Hauselburger, N Jorgensen, T Jorgensen) defeated Nhill Rangers 1 (Goal - S Bone; Best - S Bone, Mont Miller, T James)
Yanac Tigers 5 (Goals - J Croot 2, J Cramer, S Zanker, J Honeyman; Best - N Alexander, S Alexander, S Farmers) defeated Kaniva Cobras 0 (Best - A Hoggett, A Wallis, D Cole)
Warrack Hoops 5 (Goals - D Cosgrave 2, S Schultz, R Bennett, B Williamson; Best - S Schultz, D Cosgrave, M Williamson) defeated Horsham Hurricanes (Best - J Kube, S Hoffman, T Davey)
| ||Pts|| GD|
Dimboola Roos 2 (Goals - A King, C Finley; Best - B McMaster, J Hauselburger, R Albrecht) defeated Nhill Thunderbirds 1 (Goal - E Murden; Best - K Farquharson, E Murden, R Clark)
Yanac Women 4 (Goals - E Alexander 2, S Shurdington, C Beattie; Best - E Alexander, C Beattie, N Penhall) defeated Kaniva Women 0 (Best - S Williams, L Stimson, E Hicks, H White)
Horsham Jets 5 (Goals - J Pizzoni 2, L Schilling, C Lawson, S O’Connor; Best - C Lawson, L Schilling, R Batchelor, J Pizzoni) defeated Warrack Women 0 (Best - R McNamara, D Templeton, T Bull, T Engelbrecht)
| ||Pts|| GD|
Dimboola Kangaroos 2 (Goals - H Johns, C Baker; Best - H Johns, B Williamson, C Baker) drew with Nhill Leopards 2 (Goals - I Deckert, C Koop; Best - L McBride, K Clark, I Deckert)
Yanac Warriors 5 (J Croot 3, A Zanker, M Farmers; Best - J Croot, M Farmers, C Zanker, N Colbert) defeated Kaniva Raiders (Goal - M Goodwin; Best - B Williams, I Williams, J Dixon, C White)
Warrack Revengers 4 (Goals - C Mills, H Johns, L Eilola, B Williamson; Best - B Williamson, H Johns, L Eilola) defeated Horsham Bombers 1 (Goal - L Simmons; Best - S Foot, B Woodhart, K Schwarz)
| ||Pts|| GD|
Yanac Lowan Stars 3 (Goals - Archie Zanker, Asher Zanker, S Pedie; Encouragement Award - Asher Zanker) defeated Kaniva Rampagers 0
Warracknabeal Avengers 2 (Goals - S Williamson, N Eilola; Encouragement Award - S Williamson) defeated Horsham Black Hawks 1 (J Schwarz)
Nhill Bandits 6 (Goals - K Chequer 2, V Maloney, T Maloney, O Bone, M Lowe; Encouragement Award - A Beattie) defeated Dimboola Kookaburras 0