Tigers into 12th hockey fi­nal

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY SI­MON KING

Yanac Tigers have qual­i­fied for their 12th con­sec­u­tive Wim­mera Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion open grand fi­nal with a three-goal win over Kaniva Co­bras.

The Co­bras will now meet War­rack Hoops, who fought out a tough 3-2 ex­tra-time win over the Bur­ras, in a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

It took a full game of in­tense hockey plus 20 min­utes of ex­tra time to sep­a­rate the Hoops and Bur­ras.

The Bur­ras took the early ini­tia­tive and con­fined the ball to their at­tack­ing half for the first cou­ple of min­utes of the game, but were un­able to score.

The Hoops were first on the score­card 10 min­utes af­ter the re­sump­tion of play when Cameron Bardell re­ceived the ball from a field flick from Mar­cus Wil­liamson at the cen­tre line and was able to slip the ball past the de­fend­ers.

An­other 10 min­utes later, af­ter a solid save by Hoops’ goal-keeper Rus­sell Brown, Lach­lan Schultz trapped the re­bound­ing ball and hit it into the goal to even the scores.

In­tense play by both teams cre­ated many scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties but strong de­fence matched all these and the scores re­mained at one-all at full time.

The tie-break­ing process started with two pe­ri­ods of 10 min­utes of ex­tra time and it was Hoops, with a full com­ple­ment of play­ers on the in­ter­change bench, that took con­trol and with goals to both Jor­dan and Mar­cus Wil­liamson fin­ished the first pe­riod of ex­tra time with the lead.

The pres­sure built when the Bur­ras’ cap­tain Caleb Hal­sall scored less than two min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod of ex­tra time, but the per­sis­tent Hoops’ at­tack and co-or­di­nated de­fence al­lowed them to fin­ish ahead and progress to the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

Talor Dent of the Bur­ras was the stand-out can­di­date for best-on­ground hon­ours and de­fender Brett Tis­chler, goal-keeper El­lie Woods and for­ward Beau Lovett were the other Dim­boola play­ers to get the votes.

The best play­ers for Hoops in­cluded in­side for­ward Royce Ben­nett, Mar­cus Wil­liamson, un­der-16 player San­don Schultz and Brown.

Yanac Tigers main­tained their un­beaten record for the 2017 sea­son with vic­tory over Kaniva Co­bras and in the process have earned the op­por­tu­nity to play off for a 15th premier­ship.

The game was a scrappy af­fair but the Tigers en­joyed more of the play and de­spite strong de­fence by Kaniva, the sheer num­ber of at­tack­ing moves even­tu­ally yielded three goals to the Tigers, with Brad Alexan­der scor­ing twice and Josh Cramer once.

Bet­ter play­ers for the Tigers in­cluded Si­mon Farm­ers, Brad Alexan­der and Seth Croot, while Lach­lan Clark, Lachie Mills, Dun­can Shalders and Dave Cole stood out for Co­bras.

De­spite this loss the Co­bras have an­other chance to qual­ify for their first grand fi­nal.

Women

Dim­boola Roos con­tin­ued their dom­i­nance of the women’s com­pe­ti­tion and moved di­rectly into the grand fi­nal with a 4-2 win over Hor­sham Jets.

Yanac Women re­main in the race for the ti­tle with a three-goal win over Kaniva Women, who were play­ing in their first fi­nal since 2006.

The Roos took con­trol of their game against Hor­sham Jets early and were two goals ahead by half time af­ter Ad­ina King and El­iz­a­beth Klinge both scored in the first half.

Af­ter the break a goal to Jen­nifer Klinge and an­other to King ex­tended the lead to four goals, be­fore the Jets were able re­group and in a late chal­lenge scored two goals, both to Launa Schilling, but they had left their run too late and ran out of time to catch the Roos.

Jen­nifer Klinge, Re­becca Lovett and El­iz­a­beth Klinge stood out for the win­ning team and So­phie Robin­son, Carmel Mc­far­lane, Schilling and Robyn Creek were best for Jets.

The other semi-fi­nal was an en­counter be­tween two teams that have proven to be evenly matched all sea­son. On this oc­ca­sion it was Yanac’s fi­nals ex­pe­ri­ence that was the dif­fer­ence.

Strong Kaniva de­fence led by Rachel Clark and Sharon Williams re­pelled scor­ing at­tempts, but the first goal came off Su­san Hedt’s stick for Yanac mid­way through the first half, and a sec­ond came be­fore half time when Carmel Beat­tie con­verted a short cor­ner.

Af­ter the break Mikalya Farm­ers added a third goal for Yanac, and her team-mates in the back line were able to re­pel all Kaniva at­tempts to score, leav­ing the re­sult a com­fort­able win to Yanac.

Yanac cen­tre half back Shanaye Alexan­der dom­i­nated the mid­field and cen­tre for­ward Louise Bone and in­side for­ward Kait­lyn Miller played well in at­tack.

For Kaniva, Cally Shur­d­ing­ton joined reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tors Clark and Williams as their team’s best play­ers.

These re­sults set up a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal be­tween Hor­sham Jets and Yanac Women, teams that have shown in­con­sis­tent form this year, so it will be dif­fi­cult to pick a favourite as the win­ner.

Un­der 16

In un­der-16 semi-fi­nals, War­rack Re­vengers pre­vailed over Nhill Leop­ards 3-1 and Kaniva Raiders beat Dim­boola Kan­ga­roos 2-0. The Re­vengers booked a place in their first grand fi­nal since win­ning the ti­tle in 2011.

This week­end Nhill Leop­ards meet Kaniva Raiders in a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

ON THE RUN: Jen­nifer Klinge of Dim­boola Roos con­trols the ball ahead of Robyn Creek of Hor­sham Jets. Pic­ture: SI­MON KING

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