|A drawn game between the Nhill Rangers and Kaniva Cobras, which has left the former team undefeated, was one of the highlights of round two of the Wimmera Hockey Association season.
The Rangers one draw and one win from their first two games this season has matched their record from the entire fifteen rounds last season, and they are now priming for a crack at both the 2018 grand finalists over the next two rounds, which will show just how much they have improved.
Other round two highlights included comfortable wins by the Warrack Hoops in the Open division and both Yanac the Dimboola Roos in the Women’s.
Above - Leah Eilola, of the Warrack Women, leads in the race for the ball, but it was the Dimboola Roos who finished ahead on the night.
The Warrack Hoops earned their first points for the season with a five goals to one victory over the Dimboola Burras in a very fast and skilful exhibition of hockey on Friday evening.
The Burras started the game more confidently with efficient passing into attack and it was a goal by Caleb Baldock mid-way through the first half that put them ahead, but the Hoops replied five minutes later through a passage of play which saw the ball pass from Sandon Schultz to Marcus Williamson and on to new recruit Kevin Mills, who scored his first gaol for the club. A second goal, by Ben Williamson, put the Hoops ahead by half time.
After the break both sides created positive passages of play, but it was the Warracknabeal team that was able to capitalise on this and were rewarded with three more goals, to Jordan Williamson, Cameron Bardell and Paul Slater, to give them a five goals to one victory.
On Saturday evening the Nhill Rangers continued their good early season form when they shared the points with the Kaniva Cobras with a scoreless draw, and the reigning premiers are also undefeated after two games, with their latest conquest over the Horsham Hurricanes. The Yanac Tigers scored once in each half with both goals coming from field goals.
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Above - The form of Trevor James has been a big part of the Nhill Rangers resurfgence.
Four goals by Adina King of the Dimboola Roos was the difference between her team and the Warrack Women on Friday evening, although the score line could have been larger had it not been for some solid Warrack defence that repelled more attempts at goal than they conceded.
This result has the Roos alongside the Yanac Women as the only undefeated teams in the Women’s competition after two rounds, whilst Warrack Women are still looking for their first points for 2019.
Yanac continue to send an ominous message to the rest of the competition, with their latest triumph over the Horsham Jets.
Accurate passing, disciplined ball control, and general awareness of their team mates were the hallmarks of Yanac’s game, and whilst the Jets strung together a few impressive passages of play, there were not enough to challenge the reigning premiers who finished five goals ahead.
Kaniva Women won the remaining game, by two goals to one over the Nhill Thunderbirds.
After only two rounds, the Yanac Warriors are shaming as the team to beat again this season, when they finished seven goals ahead of the Horsham Bombers.
The other undefeated team is the Kaniva Raiders, who defeated the Nhill Leopards, and the Warrack Revengers won a close game with the Dimboola Kangaroos, with both teams only able to field nine players which made for an open free flowing game.
In the Under 12 Development Program, the Warrack Avengers and Yanac Lowan Stars had victories over Dimboola Kookaburras and Horsham Black Hawks respectively, whilst the Kaniva Rampagers and Nhill Bandits played out a scoreless draw.
Round Three Preview
After the first two rounds of the Wimmera Hockey Association season were played on the artificial surface at Dimboola, this week the teams will converge on Davis Park in Nhill, the next best playing surface in the Wimmera, for round three.
The most interest will be on the match between the undefeated Nhill Rangers and last year’s losing grand finalists, the Warrack Hoops, in what will be the Rangers toughest challenge to date this season.
The Hoops played well in round one to narrowly go down to the Yanac Tigers, and registered a strong win over the Dimboola Burras last week, and are showing some of the form that has seen them play in ten of the last fourteen grand finals, But the Rangers will be playing on their home ground and have the incentive to continue their unbeaten run with a victory.
The result of this game will highlight how much the Rangers have improved their recent form over recent seasons.
In the Women’s division the top of the table clash will see Yanac take on the Dimboola Roos for the first time since they met in the 2018 grand final, when Yanac prevailed. With both teams showing impressive early season form, this will be another epic game of hockey.
The closest game in the Under 16 competition will be between the Kaniva Raiders and Horsham Bombers, with the opportunity to consolidate a position in the top four the prize for the winner.
Round Three Fixture - at Davis Park, Nhill
Field One Field Two
9:30 am - Under 16 - Nhill Leopards v Warracknabeal Revengers
11:00 am - Under 16 - Kaniva Raiders v Horsham Bombers
12:30 pm - Women - Kaniva Women v Horsham Jets
2:00 pm - Women - Nhill Thunderbirds v Warracknabeal Women
3:30 pm - Open - Kaniva Cobras v Horsham Hurricanes
Field One Field Two
9:30 am - Under 16 - Yanac Warriors v Dimboola Kangaroos
11:00 am - Women - Yanac Women v Dimboola Roos
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Yanac Lowan Stars v Dimboola Kookaburras
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Nhill Bandits v Warracknabeal Avengers
12:30 pm - Under 12 Development Program - Kaniva Rampagers v Horsham Black Hawks
2:00 pm - Open - Yanac Tigers v Dimboola Burras
3:30 pm - Open - Nhill Rangers v Warracknabeal Hoops
Round Two Results
Warrack Hoops 5 (Goals - C Bardell, B Williamson, J Williamson, K Mills, P Slater; Best - M Williamson, C Bardell, P Slater) defeated Dimboola Burras 1 (Goal - C Baldock; Best - T Dent, J Williams, T Jorgensen)
Nhill Rangers 0 (Best - T James, B Miller, G Janetzki) drew with Kaniva Cobras 0 (Best - D Shalders, A Wallis, C Beattie)
Yanac Tigers 2 (Goals - N Alexander, T Alexander; Best - T Alexander, S Farmers, N Alexander) defeated Horsham Hurricanes 0 (Best - P Mackereth, S Trigg, D Pumpa)
| ||Pts|| GD||%|
|Warrack Hoops||4||3|| 200%|
Dimboola Roos 4 (Goals - A King 4; Best - J Klinge, B McMaster, A King) defeated Warrack Women 0 (Best - T Bull, R McNamara, A Genn, E Slater)
Yanac Women 5 (Goals - S Alexander 2, M Farmers, E Alexander, S Shurdington; Best - E Alexander, M Farmers, S Hedt) defeated Horsham Jets 0 (Best - R Creek, L Schilling, R Batchelor)
Kaniva Women 2 (Goals - C Shurdington, H White; Best - O Williams, J Wallis, S Williams) defeated Nhill Thunderbirds 1 (Goal - M Lovera; Best - E Murden, R Clark, B Cuming)
| ||Pts|| GD|
Kaniva Raiders 3 (Goals - M Goodwin 3; Best - M Goodwin, S Braisby, J Dixon, I Williams) defeated Nhill Leopards 0 (Best - K Rowe, D Clark, K Clark, T McBride)
Warrack Revengers 2 (Goals - B Williamson 2; Best - B Williamson, H Johns, T Englebrecht) defeated Dimboola Kangaroos 0 (Best - T Krelle, T Bamford, C Baker)
Yanac Warriors 7 (Goals - J Croot 2, H Pedie, M Farmers, R Croot, N Colbert, C Zanker; Best - M Farmers, J Croot, A Farmers, R Croot) defeated Horsham Bombers 0 (Best - B Brooks, K Dodson, S Foot, L Simmons)
Under 16 Ladder
| ||Pts|| GD||%|
|Horsham Bombers||4||-6|| 25%|
Warracknabeal Avergers 7 (Goals - Z O’Connor 2, S Williamson 2, J Goodwin 2, N Eilola) defeated Dimboola Kookaburras 0
Yanac Lowan Stars 2 (Goals - Asher Zanker, C Zanker; Encouragement - I Hedt) defeated Horsham Black Hawks 0
Nhill Bandits 0 (Encouragement - G Pohlner) drew with Kaniva Rampagers 0