Grads’ missed chances prove costly
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.
DETERMINED: Harvey Bessell, of North-West Graduates, left, presses forward against Derwent.