Teams locked into hockey fi­nals

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport -

The penul­ti­mate round of Wim­mera Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion’s win­ter sea­son fea­tured two draws in open com­pe­ti­tion and solid wins by lead­ing teams in both women and un­der-16 com­pe­ti­tions.

With one round re­main­ing be­fore fi­nals, the teams that will make up the top four in open, women and un­der-16 com­pe­ti­tions have been de­cided, but there are still some sig­nif­i­cant games to be played out on the turf at Dim­boola Health and Fit­ness Cen­tre on Fri­day and Satur­day that will shape what hap­pens through the fi­nals se­ries.

Sec­ond place on the open lad­der is still to be de­cided, and along with it goes the im­por­tant sec­ond chance in the fi­nals.

War­rack Hoops cur­rently hold this po­si­tion by two points.

A draw or win will be enough for them to re­main there. But if they slip up against Dim­boola Burras on Satur­day, Kaniva Co­bras will be poised to over­take them, if they are able to de­feat Hor­sham Hur­ri­canes.

The other game in open com­pe­ti­tion will see Yanac Tigers pre­pare for their at­tempt at a third pre­mier­ship in suc­ces­sion, when they take on Nhill Rangers on Fri­day.

Re­gard­less of this week­end’s re­sults, there can­not be any sig­nif­i­cant changes in the women’s top four, with Dim­boola Roos and Hor­sham Jets al­ready con­firmed as the com­bat­ants in the sec­ond-semi fi­nal, and Kaniva and Yanac women’s teams set to meet in the first­semi fi­nal.

Hor­sham Jets take on Kaniva Women, with both teams look­ing to boost their con­fi­dence, and Yanac Women take on Nhill Thun­der­birds, who need a draw or win to en­sure they don’t drop to sixth place.

Open

Once again War­rack Hoops and Yanac Tigers played out a clas­sic en­counter last week­end which, on this oc­ca­sion, re­sulted in a drawn game.

The Tigers are yet to be de­feated this sea­son, but the other three teams that will con­test fi­nals in two weeks’ time have shown the reign­ing pre­miers will have to play at their best if they are to ex­tend their cur­rent pre­mier­ship run to a record equalling three ti­tles in suc­ces­sion with an­other ti­tle this year.

On Anzac Park on Satur­day, Ethan Shilling put Hoops ahead eight min­utes into the game. Yanac goaled through Brad Alexan­der in the sec­ond half to even the scores, and the re­main­ing 20 min­utes of play was a strug­gle in the mid-field with both de­fen­sive lines hold­ing firm.

This draw has kept Hoops in sec­ond place on the lad­der, but they will need to draw or win next week if they are to guar­an­tee a place go­ing into the fi­nals.

Dim­boola Burras held out for a two-all draw with Kaniva Co­bras. The scor­ing was opened by Co­bras’ Mat Mcdon­ald mid­way through the first half, but by half time Lach­lan Schultz had scored twice to es­tab­lish a lead for the Burras.

A tight sec­ond half yielded only one goal, to Co­bras’ Clint Beat­tie, which left the game as a draw, but this was also enough for the Burras to con­firm a place in the fi­nals.

Hor­sham Hur­ri­canes briefly kept their slim fi­nals chances alive with a con­fi­dent win over Nhill Rangers.

Will Gulline, Tim Davey and Josh Sch­warz all found the goals to create a three goal lead in the first half, and while both teams cre­ated many for­ward op­por­tu­ni­ties af­ter the break, nei­ther was able to add to the scor­ing. Had the Burras lost their game, which was played later in the day, this re­sult would have kept the Hur­ri­canes in the fi­nals race, but they will now only be play­ing for pride in the last round.

Women

The clos­est game for the round in the women’s com­pe­ti­tion was fought out by War­rack Women, who were play­ing for the op­por­tu­nity to rise from the bot­tom of the lad­der, and Yanac Women, who are try­ing to find some more con­sis­tent form be­fore fi­nals.

Both teams earned short cor­ners and cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties to score early in the game, but the score­card re­mained blank at half time.

Kelly Krahe opened the scor­ing with a con­fi­dent goal for War­rack Women early in the sec­ond half.

Yanac for­wards stepped up their game but were con­sis­tently de­nied by de­ter­mined War­rack de­fence un­til Sheree Shur­d­ing­ton was able to even the scores with four min­utes of play re­main­ing.

War­rack re­mains in sixth place, but a good show­ing next week­end could still see it move up to fifth place at the end of the sea­son.

Nhill Thun­der­birds took to the field against Hor­sham Jets with four bor­rowed play­ers to make up a full com­ple­ment on the field.

The Thun­der­birds were able to put up a strong fight against the Jets. The dif­fer­ence in a very even first half was a soli­tary goal scored by Jets’ Mia Guest. Goals to Robyn Creek and Ash­lyn Allen, and an­other to Guest cre­ated a four-goal win­ning mar­gin for the Jets.

In the lead-up to their first fi­nals se­ries since 2006, Kaniva Women were not able to de­feat Dim­boola Roos. El­iz­a­beth Klinge scored once in the first half and Kelly Smithy­man once in the sec­ond to es­tab­lish a two goal win­ning mar­gin for the Roos, but the Kaniva de­fen­sive com­bi­na­tion led by Rachel Clark re­pelled many more than the Roos scored.

TAK­ING CHARGE: Kaniva Co­bras’ Luke Shalders ma­noeu­vres the ball away from Lach­lan Schultz. Pic­ture: JOHN O’DWYER

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