Grads’ missed chances prove costly

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - ADAM CLIF­FORD

THE men’s Pre­mier League hockey lad­der re­ceived a shake up with Der­went, OHA and Canterbury win­ning im­por­tant matches.

The Strik­ers surged to top po­si­tion by virtue of goal dif­fer­ence with a clin­i­cal ap­proach to goal guid­ing them to a 4-2 de­feat of North-West Grad­u­ates.

Grad­u­ates lost top spot and will rue sev­eral missed op­por­tu­ni­ties in the open­ing two quar­ters when they had Der­went on the ropes.

Locked 1-1 at half­time af­ter Tyson Bes­sell’s opener was can­celled out by Der­went’s An­gus Boul­ton within sec­onds of the restart, the match sprung to life in the third pe­riod.

Kee­gan Popowski backed up his hat-trick from last week with a fine re­verse-stick fin­ish, be­fore 16-year-old de­fender Ewan Vick­ery put Der­went 3-1 up with his de­but Pre­mier League goal.

Vick­ery could hardly have scored a bet­ter first goal, elim­i­nat­ing three play­ers along the left-hand base­line be­fore coolly slot­ting past a de­spon­dent Grad­u­ates back­line.

Grad­u­ates swung skip­per James Bourke into mid­field in the fi­nal pe­riod and con­tin­ued to press for­ward but a steal from Der­went’s Sam Grice saw team­mate Henry Cur­tis de­flect home the sealer with five min­utes re­main­ing.

North-West con­verted a late con­so­la­tion goal through an Olly Arnold penalty-corner re­bound af­ter the fi­nal siren but it wasn’t enough to keep them in top po­si­tion.

“We were re­ally pleased that we took our chances in the at­tack­ing cir­cle to­day and con­tinue to build mo­men­tum with our fifth vic­tory in a row,” said Der­went cap­tain Vaughn Bowen. “Un­for­tu­nately, we won’t have Billy Shaw ev­ery week but it was ter­rific to have him back in a Der­went shirt and hope­fully we’ll see him back in Oc­to­ber play­ing for the Tassie Tigers.

Canterbury gave size­able ad­van­tage it­self a in the Brown­low Cup stakes with a 4-0 de­feat of Di­a­mond­Backs, Sam McCul­loch star­ring with a hat-trick and shar­ing the Ge­off Collis medal with Lewis Short.

The Lions moved back into fourth po­si­tion at the ex­pense of Univer­sity when the Stu­dents fell 3-2 to OHA.

Two goals to Ol­lie Smith and an­other to Nick Les­lie saw the Ships home, while Univer­sity skip­per Ben Read net­ted twice.

Pic­ture: MATT THOMP­SON

DE­TER­MINED: Har­vey Bes­sell, of North-West Grad­u­ates, left, presses for­ward against Der­went.

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