|After the second of two mid-season breaks, the Wimmera Hockey Association now embarks on an exciting seven weeks that will decide the 2022 finalists, with all teams still in the race.
Barring a dramatic drop in form, the current ladder leaders in all three competitions should make the finals, but all other positions are still up for grabs, and if the pattern of the first half of the season continues, player availability on any given day will play a big part in many results.
- Open -
With just two wins separating second and fifth on the Open ladder, most games from now will influence final positions, with two big match-ups this week.
In the feature match, the Dimboola Burras will be fighting to remain in touch with the top four when they take on the Horsham Hurricanes. A Burras win would see them draw equal on points with Horsham, although it would take a big win for them to improve their goal difference enough to move ahead, but a loss will see them remain at least one win outside the top four and the Hurricanes remain in the running for a top two finish.
The Kaniva Cobras and Warrack Hoops clash will also be a big match as these teams jostle for second place, and if they can both field full-strength teams, this one could go either way.
The remaining match has the extremes of the winless Nhill Rangers taking on the undefeated Yanac Tigers, and although the Rangers have played some good hockey recently, it is hard to see them scoring their first win against this opponent.
- Women -
With the top two teams taking on the bottom two teams in the Women’s division, this round looks a little one-sided, but that may not be the case on the field, as both lower teams have added incentive for an upset.
The ladder-leading Kaniva is coming off their first defeat for the season, making them either more determined than ever to win or vulnerable to another loss to a Warracknabeal team that badly needs a win to stay in the final’s race.
Yanac’s incentive for a victory over the Nhill Thunderbirds is that it might be enough for them to ascend to the top if Kaniva were also to falter, while a ‘Birds win will make it very difficult for Warracknabeal to climb into the top four.
If the results reflect current positions, it might almost lock in the top two, as it would increase the gap between second and third to two wins, making it difficult for the lower teams to make up the difference in the remaining rounds.
- Under 16 -
The most significant result in the Under 16 competition will come from the match involving the two bottom teams. Currently equal on points, the winner out of the Kaniva Raiders and Warracknabeal Revengers will gain an advantage that may be enough to carry them through to the finals.
In the other game, the undefeated Yanac Warriors will likely keep their record intact when they take on their closest rival, the second-placed Nhill Leopards, but they will still need to play their best to ensure a win.
Wimmera Hockey Association - Round Nine Fixture
Saturday 9 July 2022 at Davis Park, Nhill
|11:00 am - ||Under 16 - ||Nhill Leopards v Yanac Warriors|
|12:30 pm - ||Under 12 Development Program|
| ||Kaniva Rampagers v Warracknabeal Avengers|
| ||Nhill Bandits v Yanac Lowan Stars|
| ||Dimboola Kookaburras v Horsham Black Hawks|
|2:00 pm - ||Open - ||Nhill Rangers v Yanac Tigers|
|3:30 pm - ||Womens - ||Nhill Thunderbirds v Yanac Women|
|11:00 am - ||Under 16 - ||Kaniva Raiders v Warracknabeal Revengers|
|12:30 pm - ||Women - ||Kaniva Women v Warracknabeal Women|
|2:00 pm - ||Open - ||Dimboola Burras v Horsham Hurricanes|
|3:30 pm - ||Open - ||Kaniva Cobras v Warracknabeal Hoops|
Bye - Horsham Jets and Horsham Bombers