|The latest round of the Wimmera Hockey Association season reminded everyone of what it is like to play a winter sport, with very cold conditions experienced at both the Yanac and Nhill venues, but this did not diminish the intensity with which teams are fighting for the best ladder positions leading into the finals in three weeks’ time.
A feature of this round was the playing of two competition games under lights at Davis Park in Nhill for only the second time, following a full day of football and netball, with all three sports involving the Nhill and Dimboola clubs.
This was initiated by the Nhill and District Sporting Club - Hockey Division last season as an opportunity to showcase their sport in front of the other winter sports divisions of their club.
The Warrack Hoops have returned to second place on the ladder after winning an intense encounter with the Kaniva Cobras on a slow and heavy ground at Yanac.
Jordan Williamson opened the scoring for the victors with a goal 12 minutes into the game, and it took a further thirty minutes of hard play before Clint Beattie replied for the Cobras five minutes after half time to maintain the pressure.
Williamson found the goals again late in the second half to break the deadlock, and although the Cobras peppered the goals in the dying minutes of the game, the Hoops’ defence remained strong and denied the Cobras the win that would have sealed them second place for the season.
Sandon Schultz, Royce Bennett and Todd Krahe stood out for the Hoops and Luke Shaders, Lachlan Clark and Beattie got the votes for the Cobras.
Above - Marcus Williamson of the Warracknabeal Hoops launches the ball down the field - Photo by Simon King
The signs looked ominous for the Horsham Hurricanes after they had conceded five goals by half time to a slick Yanac Tigers’ outfit, but they rallied after the break and a much improved defence only let one more goal through in the second half.
Lewis Wheaton scored twice for the Tigers and was named amongst his team’s best players along with Todd and Brad Alexander.
Regular stand out players Jarryd Bannan, Paul Mackereth and Stuart Hallett were named best for Horsham.
In the unfamiliar environment of Davis Park in Nhill under the floodlights, a strong Nhill Rangers’ defence kept them in the game in the face of regular attacking moves by the higher ranked Dimboola Burras.
After the break the Burras kept up the pressure but were equally matched by the Rangers’ backline and the game ended in a scoreless draw, with Nhill goalkeeper Murray Miller being named as the best player in the game and his fellow defenders Tom McPeake and Dakari Delaney also played well.
Talor Dent was Dimboola’s best player along with Jack Lovett and Tim Jorgensen.
This draw was not enough to confirm a place in the finals for the Burras who will need at least one win from their remaining two games to achieve this, but it also keeps alive the Rangers’ faint chances of overtaking the Burras before the finals.
Scoring opportunities were created at both ends of the field in the game between the Kaniva and Warracknabeal women’s teams, but good defence denied any work for the scorekeepers in the first half.
The pressure continued after half time until, with just seven minutes of play remaining, Lisa Stimson managed to breach the Warrack defence and earned a one goal lead for Kaniva which they were able to maintain until full time.
Nyree Hutchins, Stimson and goalkeeper Symone Mitchell were the best players for Kaniva and Donna Robinson, Kelly Krahe and Leah Eilola earned that honour for Warracknabeal.
Yanac Women started well in their game by earning a number of early short corners which they were unable to convert, but at the other end of the field the Horsham Jets’ forwards responded with three goals before half time.
A fourth goal later in the game sealed a Jet’s win, and with it comes confirmation that they will finish the regular season in second place and enjoy the double chance in the finals.
Ellie Morrow led the goal scoring with two and was named amongst the best players for her team along with Launa Schilling, Sophie Robinson and Ashleigh Fogarty. Shanaye Alexander, Mikayla Farmer, Sheree Shurdington and Carmel Beattie were the better players for Yanac.
In the first of the games under lights at Davis Park, a strong Thunderbirds’ defence led by best on ground Jeanette McLeod stopped many shots at goal, but they could not hold off the persistent attack from the Dimboola Roos forever and ultimately yielded five goals, with Kelly Smithyman and Adina King scoring two each and Vicki Smithyman scoring the fifth.
Jennifer Klinge was named best for the Roos, with Kelly Smithyman and King, and along with McLeod, centre half back Ameilia Rintoule and forwards Sami Crowhurst and Kellie Farquharson were the Thunderbirds’ best players.
The Nhill Leopards remain in the race for the top of the Under 16 ladder after a hard fought one goal win over the Dimboola Kangaroos who, despite the loss, remain a serious contender for the 2017 title.
Best on ground Sharma Delaney for the Leopards scored the only goal early in the second half and it was spirited attacking matched by solid defence by both teams that prevented any further scoring.
Bradley Walker and Daniel Danisch led the Kangaroos’ defence whilst Teo Haines provided drive in their forward line, and Emily Koop and Ellie Murden were named along with Delaney as the Leopards’ best players.
The closest game for the round in this division was between the Warrack Revengers and the improving Kaniva Raiders, with the former team finishing ahead by one goal.
Both teams had an equal share of the play but it was the Revengers who were able to convert their possession into more shots at goal, which ultimately yielded two goals to Oskar Bennett compared to a solitary score by Olivia Williams of the Raiders.
Sandon Schultz and Bennett, in his first game back on the field after over a month on the sidelines, were named as the Revenges’ best players and Luke Shalders and Jimmy Mitchell stood out for the Raiders.
In the battle to avoid the wooden spoon it was the Yanac Warriors, courtesy of a goal by Caleb Zanker, that were able to finish ahead of the Horsham Bombers.
Warrior Sophie Pipkorn played a solid game at fullback as did Charles Hassell in the midfield, and Serena Foot and Tom Roberts controlled the midfield for the Bombers.
The Horsham Blackhawks, Kaniva Rampagers and Dimboola Kookaburras defeated the Yanac Lowan Stars, Warracknabeal and Nhill Bandits respectively in another keenly contested Under 12 round.
Round Fourteen Preview
The penultimate round of the Wimmera Hockey Association winter season will be played out on Anzac Park in Warracknabeal next Saturday and although it is late in the season and many teams have already confirmed their places in the finals, a number of key positions within the top four remain undecided in each division.
The clash between the home team and the ladder-leading Yanac Tigers in the Open division promises to be a cracking game, with the Hoops regaining second place last week and will need a win in this game if they are to remain there.
To do this they will need to become the first team to defeat the Tigers this season, and as they have nothing to lose, will take the game right up to their opponent.
The Kaniva Cobras will be looking to get back on the winning list after narrowly going down to the Hoops last week, whist the Dimboola Burras will want to show that they deserve a place in the finals which they can confirm with a win.
The winner of the game between the Horsham Hurricanes and the Nhill Rangers may still hold a very slim chance of sneaking into the finals, if the Burras lose to the Cobras, and at the very least the vanquished team will almost certainly earn the wooden spoon so there is still a lot at stake in this game.
The feature game in the Women’s competition will see the Kaniva Women warm up for their first finals campaign in over ten seasons when they come up against the Dimboola Roos, and although even with a win they will not rise any higher on the ladder than their current third place, it would be a great boost to their confidence.
The other two games will see finals qualifiers Horsham Jets and Yanac Women take on the Nhill Thunderbirds and Warrack Women respectively and whilst ladder positions suggest that the first two teams should win, recent results suggest that the lower ranked teams are still capable of causing an upset.
With the top three teams all still able to finish on top of the ladder, depending upon results over the final two rounds, all three Under 16 games this week hold significance.
A win by the Dimboola Kangaroos will keep them in the running for a place in the top two, but a loss would have them fall to fourth and be replaced by their opponent, the Raiders from Kaniva, and a victory to the Nhill Leopards over the Horsham Bombers will keep them in with a chance of stealing top spot.
If the Warrack Revengers can overcome the Yanac Warriors they will remain at the top of the ladder, but it may not be until the final round has been played that the minor premier is decided.
In the Under 12 competition, the Kaniva Raiders play the Yanac Warriors, the Dimboola Kookaburras meet the Horsham Blackhawks and the Nhill Bandits clash with Warracknabeal.
Round Fourteen Fixture - at Warracknabeal
- Saturday 12 August 2017
9.30 am - Under 16 - Warrack Revengers v. Yanac Warriors
11.00 am - Women - Warrack Women v. Yanac Women
12.30 pm - Open - Horsham Hurricanes v. Nhill Rangers
2.00 pm - Open - Dimboola Burras v. Kaniva Cobras
3.30 pm - Open - Warrack Hoops v. Yanac Tigers
9.30 am - Under 16 - Dimboola Kangaroos v. Kaniva Raiders
11.00 am - Under 16 - Horsham Bombers v. Nhill Leopards
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Dimboola Kookaburras v. Kaniva Rampagers
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Horsham Blackhawks v. Nhill Bandits
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Warracknabeal v. Yanac Lowan Stars
2.00 pm - Women - Horsham Jets v. Nhill Thunderbirds
3.30 pm - Women - Dimboola Roos v. Kaniva Women
Round Thirteen Results
Warrack Hoops 2 (Goals - J Williamson 2; Best - S Schultz, R Bennett, T Krahe) defeated Kaniva Cobras 1 (Goal - C Beattie; Best - L Shalders, L Clark, C Beattie)
Yanac Tigers 6 (Goals - L Wheaton 2, S Farmers, L Reichenbach, B Alexander, J Cramer; Best - T Alexander, B Alexander, L Wheaton) defeated Horsham Hurricanes 0 (Best - J Bannan, P Mackereth, S Hallett)
Nhill Rangers 0 (Best - Murray Miller, T McPeake, D Delaney) drew with Dimboola Burras 0 (Best - T Dent, J Lovett, T Jorgensen)
| || Pts || GD |
| Yanac Tigers || 48 || 37 |
| Warrack Hoops || 36 || 23 |
| Kaniva Cobras || 34 || 8 |
| Dimboola Burras || 18 || -10 |
| Horsham Hurricanes || 10 || -27 |
| Nhill Rangers || 10 || -31 |
Kaniva Women 1 (Goal - L Stimson; Best - N Hutchins, L Stimson, S Mitchell) defeated Warrack Women 0 (Best - D Robinson, K Krahe, L Eilola)
Horsham Jets 4 (Goals - E Morrow 2, C McFarlane, S Robinson; Best - L Schilling, S Robinson, A Fogarty, E Morrow) defeated Yanac Women 0 (Best - S Alexander, M Farmers, S Shurdington, C Beattie)
Dimboola Roos 5 (Goals - K Smithyman 2, A King 2, V Smithyman; Best - J Klinge, K Smithyman, A King) defeated Nhill Thunderbirds 0 (Best - J McLeod, A Rintoule, S Crowhurst, K Farquharson)
| || Pts || GD |
| Dimboola Roos || 48 || 35 |
| Horsham Jets || 36 || 21 |
| Kaniva Women || 28 || -2 |
| Yanac Women || 24 || -8 |
| Nhill Thunderbirds || 12 || -23 |
| Warrack Women || 8 || -23|
Nhill Leopards 1 (Best - S Delaney; Best - S Delaney, E Koop, E Murden) defeated Dimboola Kangaroos 0 (Best - B Walker, D Danisch, T Haines)
Warrack Revengers 2 (Goals - O Bennett 2; Best - S Schultz, O Bennett, B Williamson) defeated Kaniva Raiders 1 (Goal - O Williams; Best - L Shalders, J Mitchell, J Dixon)
Yanac Warriors 1 (Goal - C Zanker; Best - S Pipkorn, C Hassall, M Farmers) defeated Horsham Bombers 0 (Best - S Foot, T Roberts, S Hallett)
| || Pts || GD |
| Warrack Revengers || 40 || 22 |
| Nhill Leopards || 36 || 30 |
| Dimboola Kangaroos || 32 || 19 |
| Kaniva Raiders || 30 || 7 |
| Yanac Warriors || 12 || -32 |
| Horsham Bombers || 6 || -46|
Kaniva Rampagers 6 (Goals - C White 2, K Clark, D Clark, B Williams, K Jewell; Best - K Jewell) defeated Warracknabeal 0 (Best - C Bennett)
Dimboola Kookaburras 4 (Goals - E Simpson 2, R Simpson, M Hughes; Best - E Simpson) defeated Nhill Bandits 2 (Goals - V Moloney 2; Best - V Moloney)
Horsham Blackhawks 2 (Goals - L Simmons; Best - L Simmons) defeated Yanac Lowan Stars 1 (Goals - G Pedie; best A Zanker)
| || Pts || GD |
| Yanac Lowan Stars || 34 || 18 |
| Kaniva Rampagers || 34 || 18 |
| Dimboola Kookaburras || 32 || 17 |
| Horsham Blackhawks || 28 || -8 |
| Nhill Bandits || 18 || -16 |
| Warracknabeal || 10 || -29 |