|Wimmera Hockey Association | Round One
The Wimmera Hockey Association’s 2019 season got underway on the weekend with games played on Friday evening and all day Saturday at Dimboola, and although reading too much into early season form is fraught with danger, round one did throw up some intriguing results.
With most teams are still finalising their playing rosters for 2019, form in the first round may not be representative of how they will progress later in the season, although in an ominous sign for the rest of the competition, the reigning premiers in each division, all from Yanac, enjoyed first up wins as did all the senior teams from the Dimboola and Nhill clubs.
The Nhill Rangers made their most positive start to ta season for many years with a first up win over the Horsham Hurricanes, with a goal by Blake Miller of the Rangers in the first half the difference between the teams after 70 minutes of intense hockey.
Both of these teams have struggled and spent considerable time towards the bottom of the ladder over recent seasons, but their performance on Friday evening suggests that they may be capable of causing some trouble for any team that chooses not to take them seriously.
In a rematch between the grand finalists from last season, the Yanac Tigers once again prevailed but as is always the case when they take on the Warrack Hoops they had to play a full game of tough hockey to earn the points.
A fast break by Todd Alexander of the Tigers after eight minutes of play delivered the ball to their forward line, but after the Hoops’ goalkeeper repulsed the shot a goal, Josh Cramer pounced and was able to get the ball into the net to open the scoring.
A second goal scored by Nathan Alexander midway through the first half suggested that the Tigers were in full control, but this was not the case.
From this point the balance in the game swung slightly towards the Hoops, although solid Tigers’ defence prevented any scoring until Oskar Bennett got the Hoops on the scorecard late in the game, but time ran out before they could add anymore goals to draw the game.
In the final match of the round the Dimboola Burras made a statement with an eight goals to one victory over the Kaniva Cobras, a fellow finalist from last season.
The Burras established a three goal margin by half time, to which they added another five goals by the final whistle with the Cobras only finding their goal once.
Three goals to Caleb Baldock, two each to Zach Slater-Collard and Lachlan Schultz, and one to Koby Bamford made up the Burra’ eight goals, and Clint Beattie was the sole scorer for the Cobras.
Another team that has not enjoyed much recent success to start their season with a welcome victory was the Nhill Thunderbirds, who finished ahead of the Horsham Jets.
A scoreless first half set up a tense second half which saw Thunderbirds take the lead ten minutes after the break through Sophie Allen, which was matched twelve minutes later by Carmel McFarlane.
In a tense finish to the game, Emily Koop broke the deadlock in favour of the Thunderbirds with just six minutes of play remaining and they were able to hold off the Jets to open their season with a win.
The Women’s reigning premier, Yanac, continued from where they finished last season, with another solid win, this time against the Warracknabeal Women.
Two goals in each half established their four goal winning margin and they were shared amongst four different players. Regular top performers Erin Alexander and Mikayla Farmers both scored goals and were named as their team’s best players, whilst centre half back Alysha Genn and goal keeper Melanie Bentley were the better players for Warrack.
A total of two goals by the Dimboola Roos was enough to overcome the Kaniva Women, although it did take until early in the second half before Chloe Baker put them on the scoreboard but then a second score by Brooke McMaster minutes later sealed the game.
Report continues after photo
Above - Ashlyn Allen of the Horsham Jets (left) controls the ball as Kendra Clark of the Nhill Thunderbirds applies pressure.
Year to year form in this level of competition is dominated by the changes in each team’s playing roster with overage players moving on to the senior competitions being replaced by less experienced younger players.
The Yanac Warriors are in the enviable position this year of not losing any leading players from their 2018 grand final team, which suggests that they will again be the team setting the pace.
They started their title defence with a dominant victory over the Warrack Revengers, who had no answer to the Warriors’ dominant mid-field, although the final margin of ten goals is not a true indication of the talent remaining in the Revengers team.
Rourke Croot finished with three goals, and Jasper Croot and Archie Zanker got two each for the Warriors, and for the Revengers Ben Williamson and Kathleen Johns were named as the better players for the Revengers.
The Horsham Bombers having shown considerable potential over recent seasons but have struggled to translate this into victories, but have started this season in the most positive manner with a hard fought win over the Nhill Leopards.
The leaders of the Horsham team have been encouraging a number younger players, who have now been with the team for a number of seasons, and this year could the one where they begin to make their presence felt.
Serena Foot, Lars Simmons, Katrina Schwarz and Thomas Batchelor are amongst this group of players and were all named as the Bombers’ best on Saturday, whilst Deegan Clark, Kendra Clark and Isaac Deckert features amongst the Leopards best.
The remaining Under 16 game matched two teams that are struggling for players this year, but this did not reduce the determination on the field. Both the Dimboola Kangaroos and Kaniva Raiders played with less than the full complement of eleven players, but the quality of hockey they played was still high.
A scoreless first half was followed by a second period where the Dimboola team, playing with three less players, tired more quickly and the Raiders took advantage of this and finished two goals ahead.
Under 12 Development Program
More than 50 up and coming young hockey players took over the turf pitch for an hour at Dimboola on Saturday to participate in the Under 12 Development Program.
This program has been running for a couple of years now and is already proving to be a good source of new players for the Under 16 competition.
This week Yanac Lowan Stars, Kaniva Rampagers and Nhill Bandits all recorded narrow wins over the Warracknabeal Avengers, Dimboola Kookaburras Horsham Black Hawks respectively.
Round Two Preview
For the next round, all teams will again converge on the Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre on Friday evening and all day Saturday.
Although form is difficult to judge after only one round, feature games of this round will include the Dimboola Burras, fresh off an impressive win last Saturday, taking on the Warrack Hoops, who were not disgraced by their narrow loss to the Yanac Tigers on Friday evening.
On Saturday afternoon, the Horsham Jets, who will be smarting after their narrow first round loss to the Thunderbirds, will have the perfect opportunity to gauge where they are when they meet the in-form Yanac in the Women’s competition.
In the Under 16 competition the most interest will be in the first game on Saturday morning when the improving Horsham Bombers will be tested by the reigning premiers, Yanac Warriors.
Round Two Fixture - at the Dimboola Health and Fitness Centre
Friday 3 May 2019
7:00 pm - Women - Dimboola Roos v Warracknabeal Women
8:30 pm - Open - Dimboola Burras v Warracknabeal Hoops
Saturday 4 May 2019
9:30 am - Under 16 - Horsham Bombers v Yanac Warriors
11:00 am - Under 16 - Dimboola Kangaroos v Warracknabeal Revengers
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Dimboola Kookaburras v Warracknabeal Avengers
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Horsham Black Hawks v Yanac Lowan Stars
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Nhill Bandits v Kaniva Rampagers
1:30 pm - Under 16 - Nhill Leopards v Kaniva Raiders
3:00 pm - Women - Nhill Thunderbirds v Kaniva Women
4:30 pm - Women - Horsham Jets v Yanac Women
6:00 pm - Open - Nhill Rangers v Kaniva Cobras
7:30 pm - Open - Horsham Hurricanes v Yanac Tigers
Round One Results
Nhill Rangers 1 (Goal - B Miller; Best - M Miller, J Reichelt, K Farquharson, B Miller) defeated Horshan Hurricanes 0 (Best - S Hoffman, P Mackereth, S Trigg, T Roberts)
Yanac Tigers 2 (Goals - N Alexander, J Cramer; Best - T Alexander, J Harding, S Farmers) defeated Warrack Hoops 1 (Goal - O Bennett; Best - C Bardell, P Slater, R Bennett)
Dimboola Burras 8 (Goals - C Baldock 3, Z Slater-Collard 2, L Schultz 2, K Bamford; Best - T Dent, C Baldock, L Schultz, Z Slater-Collard) defeated Kaniva Cobras 1 (Goal - C Beattie; Best - L Mills, D Shalders, C Beattie)
| || Pts|| GD|| %|
|Yanac Tigers||4||1|| 200%|
Nhill Thunderbirds 2 (Goals - E Koop, S Allen; Best - E Farquharson, E Murden, C Kessler) defeated Horsham Jets 1 (Goal - C McFarlane; Best - L Schilling, C McFarlane, C Barnett)
Yanac Women 4 (Goals - M Farmers, E Alexander, S Alexander, H Honeyman; Best - E Alexander, M Farmers, S Hedt) defeated Warrack Women 0 (Best - A Genn, M Bentley, K Krahe)
Dimboola Roos 2 (Goals - B McMaster, C Baker; Best - C Hadzig, B McMaster, R Albrecht) defeated Kaniva Women 0 (Best - N Hutchins, H White, S Williams, H Beattie)
| || Pts|| GD|
Horsham Bombers 2 (Goals - J Schwarz, B Woodhart; Best - S Foot, L Simmons, T Batchelor, K Schwarz) defeated Nhill Leopards 1 (Goal - I Deckert; Best - D Clark, K Clark, I Deckert)
Yanac Warriors 10 (Goals - R Croot 3, J Croot 2, Archie Zanker 2, N Colbert, C Hassal, C Zanker; Best - J Croot, M Farmers, L Farmers, R Croot) defeated Warrack Revengers 0 (Best - B Williamson, K Johns, F Eilola, L Eilola)
Kaniva Raiders 2 (Goals - M Goodwin, N White; Best - M Goodwin, S Braisby, C White) defeated Dimboola Kangaroos 0 (Best - T Krelle, C Baker, W Abbott)
| || Pts|| GD|
|Horsham Bombers ||4||1|
Yanac Lowan Stars 1 (Goal - Archie Zanker; Encouragement - S Pedie) defeated Warracknabeal Avengers )
Kaniva Rampagers 1 (Goal - C White) defeated Dimboola Kookaburras 0
Nhill Bandits 4 defeated Horsham Black Hawks 0