|The first games on Kaniva’s new second hockey field were overshadowed by some inclement weather on Saturday, but round thirteen of the Wimmera Hockey Association season still gave some interesting results.
The Nhill Rangers continued their impressive run towards the finals with a win over Horsham Hurricanes in the Open competition and the Dimboola Roos kept their dream of finishing on top of the ladder with a win over Kaniva.
Having now confirmed a place in the finals for the first time since 2013, the Nhill Rangers are playing some impressive hockey, and on this occasion they registered a five goal victory over the Horsham Hurricanes.
The balance of this game swung with first Nhill then Horsham controlling the play, but by the end of the first half it was the Rangers who had gained the advantage with three goals.
The Horsham players were not daunted by going into the second half behind and began by attacking strongly, and although Nhill was able to increase the lead to five goals, the Hurricanes never gave up and fought the game out to the end, making the Rangers earn all of their goals.
The Kaniva Cobras debuted their new field with a game against the Dimboola Burras, but did not enjoy any home ground advantage as the conditions were not favourable to a quick free flowing game. Both teams made the most of it and put on an entertaining exhibition of hockey which finished in a five goal win to the Burras.
The Cobras slim chances of making the finals are now gone after this result, but the Burras remain a chance to move up to second with the right combination of results over the final two rounds.
Above - Dimboola Burras’ Lachlan Geary taking to the challenging conditions on Saturday afternoon.
The points were shared when the game between the Yanac Tigers and Warrack Hoops was cancelled, which still leaves the Hoops vulnerable to slipping to third before the end of the season although the Tigers confirmed they would finish on top of the ladder a couple of weeks ago.
The Nhill Thunderbirds have confirmed they will go into the finals in third place after a solid two goal victory over the Horsham Jets, leaving the latter team teetering on the brink of missing the finals unless they can win their next two games and rely on other favourable results.
Horsham enjoyed most of the play early in the game, and it was a converted penalty corner against the flow of play by Caitlyn Rowe of the Thunderbirds that began the scoring. The Jets continued to control the play but still went into half time one goal behind.
Nhill controlled more of the play after the break but it was an impressive solo run by Ellie Murden to outrun the defenders and take on the goal keeper to score her team’s second goal.
They continued to attack for the remainder of the game but the Jets held them out and prevented any further scoring.
The Dimboola Roos continued their good form as they roll towards the finals with a three goal win over Kaniva, and Warracknabeal was not able to assemble a team to take on Yanac and forfeited their game.
A three goal loss to the Yanac Warriors almost felt like a victory for the Warrack Revengers as they were able to restrict the undefeated reigning premiers to less than a third of their average winning margin this season.
Two early goals gave the Warriors control of the game, but the Revengers did not give in, creating a number of attacking moves and earned a couple of penalty corners, but they were unable to convert any of this into goals.
An early field goal after the game resumed for the second half increase the lead, but a good defensive game by the Revengers reduced the Warriors’ opportunities to score and kept the margin to three.
Although they controlled much of their game, the Kaniva Raiders were unable to shake off a tenacious Dimboola Kangaroos who put in a strong performance despite taking to the field with just eight players, and the final five goal margin did not truly reflect the closeness of the game.
The Horsham Bombers also defied their lower position on the ladder to push the Nhill Leopards for the entire seventy minutes of their game. The game finished in a three goals to one win for the Nhill team, but they had to work hard to earn this result.
Under 12 Development Program
Only two games were played in the Under 12 Development Program on Saturday, but those who braved the conditions enjoyed the experience.
The Dimboola Kookaburras finished with a rare win with a one goal margin over the Kaniva Rampagers, and the Nhill Bandits overcame the Horsham Black Hawks.
Round Fourteen Preview
Although the finalists have been confirmed in both the Open and Under 16 competitions, interest still remains over the last two rounds as to who will finish in the top two, and earn the second chance in the finals, and the identity of the fourth placed team in the Women’s competition may not be decided until after the last round.
Round fourteen will be played out on the turf at the Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre this weekend, and is the last opportunity for teams to play on the artificial surface this season before the last round and all finals will be played on grass.
The penultimate round of the regular season hits off on Friday evening with two of the current form teams clashing under the lights. The Nhill Rangers have shown significant improvement this season, to the point where they have now sealed a place in the finals, and after this weekend they will have a very good idea of where they stand after they take on the undefeated Yanac Tigers.
On Saturday evening the Warrack Hoops will take on the Kaniva Cobras in a game they will need to win if they are to remain ahead of the Dimboola Burras in second place on the ladder, and whilst the Cobras can no longer make the finals, they have nothing to lose and should put in a strong game.
If the Dimboola Burras can continue their winning form and defeat the Horsham Hurricanes, they will keep alive their plans of snatching second place on the ladder from the Hoops before the finals, and although the Hurricanes can no longer make the finals, but they have the incentive that they can still rise from the bottom of the ladder if they can score a win or two in the last two rounds.
The interest over the closing two rounds of the regular season is whether the Horsham Jets can take advantage of the slim chance they still have of making the finals, and if the Dimboola Roos can overtake Yanac for the top place on the ladder.
The feature game this week will be between Dimboola and Horsham, who both need the win if they are to keep these plans alive for another week.
The clash to open the round on Friday evening will also be a good game with the third placed Nhill Thunderbirds taking on the competition leading Yanac, with both teams looking to keep winning as they move toward the finals.
Kaniva can finally confirm their place in the finals with a win over Warracknabeal on Saturday afternoon.
All three games in the Under 16 competition this week are worthy of match of the day status, with all potentially very close encounters.
The Dimboola Kangaroos and Horsham Bombers have both now missed a place in the finals, but have shown enough promise that this will be a top game to begin the day on Saturday morning.
Although the Warrack Revengers cannot overtake the Kaniva Raiders on the ladder, they could meet in the finals, so a win in this game could give the victor an advantage if they do, and the Nhill Leopards are the next to have the opportunity to try to stop the Yanac Warriors’ winning run, but even if they can’t register a win, a good showing in this game is vital if they are to take positive form into the finals.
Round Fourteen Fixture
- Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre
Friday - 16 August
7:00 pm - Women - Yanac Women v Nhill Thunderbirds
8:30 pm - Open - Yanac Tigers V Nhill Rangers
Saturday - 17 August
9:30 am - Under 16 - Dimboola Kangaroos v Horsham Bombers
11:00 am - Under 16 - Yanac Warriors v Nhill Leopards
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Dimboola Kookaburras v Horsham Black Hawks
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Yanac Lowan Stars v Nhill Bandits
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Warracknabeal Avengers v Kaniva Rampagers
1:30 pm - Under 16 - Warracknabeal Revengers v Kaniva Raiders
3:00 pm - Women - Warracknabeal v Kaniva
4:30 pm - Women - Dimboola Roos v Horsham Jets
6:00 pm - Open - Warracknabeal Hoops v Kaniva Cobras
7:30 pm - Open - Dimboola Burras v Horsham Hurricanes
Round Thirteen Results
Nhill Rangers 5 (Goals - J Reichelt 2, D Schwarz, B Miller, C Hauselberger; Best - J Reichelt, B Miller, D Reichelt) defeated Horsham Hurricanes 0 (Best - S Hoffman, T Roberts, P Mackereth)
Dimboola Burras 5 (Goals - L Schultz 3, E Woods 2; Best - T Jorgensen, J Paley, L Geary) defeated Kaniva Cobras 0 (Best - A Wallis, C Beattie, L Mills)
Yanac Tigers v. Warrack Hoops - game cancelled
| ||Pts|| GD|
Nhill Thunderbirds 2 (Goals - C Rowe, E Murden; Best - K Farquharson, E Murden, R Clark, K Clark) defeated Horsham Jets 1 (Goal - L Schilling; Best - C Lawson, L Schilling, S O’Connor, S Foot)
Dimboola Roos 3 (Goals - E Klinge, A King, K Smithyman; Best - J Klinge, J Hauselberger, A King) defeated Kaniva 0 (Best - L Stimson, S Williams, O Williams)
Yanac defeated Warracknabeal by forfeit
| ||Pts|| GD|
Nhill Leopards 3 (Goals - L McBride 2, K Rowe; Best - K Clark, D Clark, L McBride) defeated Horsham Bombers 1 (Goal - L Simmons; Best - S Foot, A Nuske, J Crockford)
Kaniva Raiders 5 (Goals - M Goodwin 3, I Williams 2; Best - M Goodwin, E Dixon, I Williams ) defeated Dimboola Kangaroos 0 (Best - T Krelle, C Baker, S Pedie)
Yanac Warriors 3 (Goals - C Hassall 2, N Colbert; Best - M Farmers, Caleb Zanker, Asher Zanker) defeated Warrack Revengers 0 (Best - H Johns, C Mills, K Johns)
| ||Pts|| GD|
Under 12 Development Program
Nhill Bandits 6 (Goals - V Maloney 3, T Maloney, K Chequer, G Pohlner) defeated Horsham Black Hawkes 0
Dimboola Kookaburras 1 (Goal - V Ward) defeated Kaniva Rampagers 0