There was still a heavy dew on the ground when the first matches of round five hit off on Saturday morning, but that did not detract from the quality of hockey played in round five of the Wimmera Hockey Association on Davis Park in Nhill.

With all teams having now played each opponent once, indications of their relative form and strengths this season are becoming more evident.

Open -

After a slow start, the Warrack Hoops have won their last two games and are now in the top four for the first time in 2022, while the Nhill Rangers remain winless in sixth place after a six goals to one result when the two met on Saturday.

The Hoops took control early, with goals to Faith Eilola and Kai Hoye in the first quarter and one to Royce Bennett in the second, to which the Rangers replied with one off the stick of Rodney Reichelt just before the long break to remain in touch with their opponents, but in a dominant second half, which saw Bennett score three more goals, put the result beyond doubt.

Not surprisingly, Bennett was named the Hoops’ best player, ahead of Sandon Schultz, Eilola, and Daniel Danisch, on lone from Dimboola, while Hamish Pearse, David Reichelt, Lee Marra, and Seve Delaney were the better players for the Rangers.

In a closer contest, the Kaniva Cobras claimed a three goals to one victory over the Horsham Hurricanes, and they have now moved into second place on the ladder. An even first half had the Cobras enjoying a slender one-goal lead at halftime after Max Goodwin converted a penalty corner midway through the first quarter, one of three penalty corners they earned in the first half. The Hurricanes had not scored from either of their two penalty corners to this point in the game.

A field goal by Clint Beattie early in the third quarter increased the Cobras’ hold on the match, but an exceptional Hurricanes’ field goal by Tom Batchelor mid-way through the last quarter brought them back within sight of the lead.

The relentless Cobras’ forwards scored for a third time through Jordan Clark within minutes of the final whistle, which was too much for the Hurricanes to counter in the time remaining.

Kaniva’s Lachie Mills continued his good personal form this season as their best player, with other consistent performers, Beattie and Clark, also attracting the umpires’ attention for all the right reasons. Traiyth Leffler, Rachel Duggan, and Stuart Hoffman were the better players for the Hurricanes.

These two are very evenly matched, as they now occupy second and third on the ladder respectively, with three wins each and an identical goal difference, so are currently separated by percentage, the third criteria used to rank teams on the ladder.

An under-manned Dimboola Burras team could not stop the Yanac Tigers’ juggernaut, and although they fell four goals short, there was no disgrace in this result as they restricted the reigning premiers to just four penalty corners but did not have the resources available on the day to put any serious pressure on the Tigers’ defence.

Goals to Josh Cramer, Brad Alexander, and Todd Alexander before halftime established a good lead, and one to Zach Dorrington early in the last quarter established the four-goal margin.

Brad and Todd Alexander were the stand-out players for the Tigers, and Brett Tischler and Daniel Danisch put in a solid game for The Burras.

Women -

In the Womens’ competition, the Nhill Thunderbirds’ enjoyed their first victory for 2022 at the expense of the Warrack Women. Controlling the ball right from the state of the game, the ‘Birds earned seven penalty corners and ended the match with three goals, all scored by Rachel Clark on the first occasion she has achieved a hat-trick of goals in a game in her career.

Warracknabeal did well to score once against the flow of the play, with Lexi Farmers claiming the goal.

Midfielders earned the umpires’ votes for both teams, with Kendra Clark, Rachel Clark, and Chyna Kessler for the thunderbirds, and Brooke McMaster, Faith Eilola, and Deb Templeton for Warracknabeal.

Kaniva continued their undefeated run by accounting for the Horsham Jets by five goals, with Querida Pearse and Jules Braisby scoring two each and Lisa Stimson earning the fifth.

Olivia Williams played a solid game at centre half-back for Kaniva, and Hannah Werner, filling the same position for the Jets, dominated for her team.

Under 16 -

Nhill Leopards scored their second win for the season in the Under 16 competition and brought their goal difference back to zero with a comfortable five-goal win over the Warrack Revengers. Isaac Deckert scored two goals and was named the Leopards’ best player, and Oskar Nuske and Clarice Bennett were the better players for the Revengers.

The Horsham Bombers continued their good early-season form with a win against the Kaniva Raiders. Tom Batchelor had a productive day, scoring four of the Bombers’ seven goals and being named their best player alongside Lars Simmons and Sophie Schwarz.

Two of the Raiders’ most consistent players so far this season, Logan Krelle and Charlie White, again put in a tireless effort for their team.

Wimmera Hockey Association Round Five Results

Open -

Yanac Tigers 4 (Goals - T Alexander, B Alexander, J Cramer, Z Dorrington; Best - B Alexander, T Alexander, S Farmers, J Cramer) defeated Dimboola Burras 0 (Best - B Tischler, D Danisch, T Jorgensen, M Goodwin)

Kaniva Cobras 3 (Goals - C Beattie, M Goodwin, J Clark; Best - L Mills, C Beattie, J Clark) defeated Horsham Hurricanes 1 (Goal - T Batchelor; Best - T Leffler, R Duggan, S Hoffman)

Warrack Hoops 6 (Goals - R Bennett 4, F Eilola, K Hoye; Best - R Bennett, S Schultz, F Eilola, D Danisch) defeated Nhill Rangers 1 (Goal - R Reichelt; Best - H Pearse, D Reichelt, L Marra, S Delaney)

 Pts  GD%
Yanac Tigers2022-
Kaniva Cobras122  125%
Horsham Hurricanes122120%
Warrack Hoops83150%
Dimboola Burras8-1225%
Nhill Rangers0-176%

Women -

Nhill Thunderbirds 3 (Goals - R Clark 3; Best - K Clark, R Clark, C Kessler) defeated Warrack Women 1 (Goal - L Farmers; Best - B McMaster, F Eilola, D Templeton)

Kaniva Women 5 (Goals - J Braisby 2, Q Pearse 2, L Stimson; Best - O Williams, J Hauselberger, L Stimson) defeated Horsham Jets 0 (Best - H Werner, A Morrow, H Mackereth)

Bye - Yanac Women

 Pts  GD
Kaniva Women1818
Yanac Women121
Horsham Jets120
Nhill Thunderbirds6-9
Warrack Women2-10

Under 16 -

Nhill Leopards 5 (Goals - I Deckert 2, J Clark, O Bone, B Clark; Best - I Deckert, D Clark, O Bone) defeated Warrack Revengers 0 (Best - O Nuske, C Bennett, L Nuske)

Horsham Bombers 7 (Goals - T Batchelor 5, L Simmons, J Hedt; Best - T Batchelor, L Simmons, S Schwarz) defeated Kaniva Raiders 0 (Best - L Krelle, C White, O Curtis)

Bye - Yanac Warriors

 Pts  GD
Yanac Warriors1822
Horsham Bombers1420
Nhill Leopards100
Warrack Revengers6-22
Kaniva Raiders2-20

Under 12 Development Program -

Nhill Bandits 2 (Goals - B Clark, H Toet; Encouragement Award - C Bone) v. Warrack Avengers 9 (Goals - S Williamson 3, H Lomax 3, M Bentley, C Bentley)

Yanac Lowan Stars 2 (Goals - T Rethus, A Cramer; Encouragement Award - S Hedt) v. Dimboola Kookaburras 4 (Goals - J Ward 3, W Hadzig; Encouragement Award - J Ward, I Ward)

Kaniva Rampagers 2 (Goals - L Williams, C Chapness; Encouragement Award - M Maddern) v. Horsham Black Hawks 2 (Goals - H Di Pietro, J Mackereth; Encouragement Award - H De Pietro)