Hockey part of big day of sport

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY SI­MON KING

Nhill and Yanac se­nior hockey teams will be at Davis Park in Nhill on Satur­day evening to show­case Wim­mera Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion in twi­light games as part of a big day of sport.

Ear­lier in the day, Nhill Tigers foot­ballers and net­ballers will en­joy their first run for the sea­son af­ter hav­ing the bye in the first round.

While early form sug­gests Yanac Tigers should not have too much trou­ble fin­ish­ing ahead of strug­gling Nhill Rangers in the open com­pe­ti­tion, a game in a women’s di­vi­sion should be much closer.

Yanac Women and Nhill Thun­der­birds reg­is­tered con­fi­dence-boost­ing wins in open­ing-round clashes, and although Yanac has had the best of en­coun­ters over re­sent sea­sons, sig­nif­i­cant re­cruit­ing dur­ing the off-sea­son has seen the Thun­der­birds be­come a more for­mi­da­ble com­bi­na­tion.

This will pro­vide for a suit­able show­piece game.

The re­main­ing games will be at Dim­boola Health and Fit­ness Cen­tre on Satur­day, with a clash be­tween sec­ond and third-ranked teams in the open di­vi­sion last year, Kaniva Co­bras and War­rack Hoops, the fea­ture game.

These are the two teams most likely to mount a se­ri­ous chal­lenge to the dom­i­nance of Yanac Tigers and both will be des­per­ate for a win to gain an early-sea­son ad­van­tage.

Hor­sham Hur­ri­canes will look to build on their open­ing-round vic­tory in the late game against Dim­boola Bur­ras, who will want to prove they are bet­ter than their re­sult from Satur­day.

Fol­low­ing the form of last week, both of the women’s games at this venue could go ei­ther way.

An im­prov­ing War­rack Women will take on Kaniva Women in what should be a close game, and Hor­sham Jets will be dis­ap­pointed in their open­ing-round per­for­mance and will want to match Dim­boola Roos.

Af­ter only one round it is dif­fi­cult to read too much into the form of un­der-16 teams still com­ing to terms with en­forced per­son­nel changes, with older play­ers mov­ing into the se­nior ranks and their younger re­place­ments still find­ing their place in the team.

This week­end, Hor­sham Bombers play Dim­boola Kangaroos, Kaniva Raiders play War­rack Re­vengers and Nhill Leop­ards meet Yanac War­riors.

Warm con­di­tions greeted play­ers and of­fi­cials for the first round of the com­pe­ti­tion at Davis Park last week.

In open com­pe­ti­tion, a 2017 open grand fi­nal re­match be­tween Yanac Tigers and Kaniva Co­bras fin­ished with a one-sided score line, but it was a close and hard-fought game. The Tigers scored six times, with Jamie Hard­ing find­ing the goals twice, and the Co­bras twice, with Mathew Mcdon­ald’s looped ball over the goal­keeper’s head the most mem­o­rable.

A goal by Hor­sham Hur­ri­canes Jonathon Hors­fall was all that sep­a­rated his team from Nhill Rangers, but it was enough to al­low them to start the sea­son with a rare win.

Nhill dic­tated play early but the Hur­ri­canes de­fended well to pre­vent any scor­ing in the first half.

War­rack Hoops and Dim­boola Bur­ras al­ways give an en­ter­tain­ing dis­play, and this round was no ex­cep­tion.

In a keenly fought game, the Bur­ras won the first half with Jar­ryd Wil­liams scor­ing the only goal be­fore the break and the Hoops un­able to con­vert chances.

A penalty-cor­ner con­ver­sion by Mar­cus Wil­liamson soon af­ter play re­sumed evened the scores, but the Bur­ras re­gained the lead through an ac­cu­rate shot by Zack Slater-col­lard.

Re­lent­less at­tack­ing by the Hoops al­lowed them to score a fur­ther three goals through Jor­dan Wil­liamson, Jar­rod Knoop and a sec­ond to Mar­cus Wil­liamson, and solid co-or­di­nated de­fence at the other end pre­vented the Bur­ras from match­ing this.

In women’s com­pe­ti­tion, War­rack Women started the 2018 sea­son pos­i­tively by scor­ing three goals against reign­ing pre­miers Dim­boola Roos, Donna Rigby scor­ing two and Deb Tem­ple­ton the third.

Although this was not enough to earn a win, with the Roos scor­ing four, Kelly Smithy­man, two, it showed that War­rack Women need to be taken se­ri­ously.

Nhill Thun­der­birds and Hor­sham Jets played out an even game, which ended in a vic­tory for the Nhill team.

The Jets took the early lead only six min­utes into the game cour­tesy of a goal by El­lie Mor­row, but this was equalled four min­utes later when Kel­lie Far­quhar­son con­verted a penalty stroke. A field goal by El­lie Mur­den put the Thun­der­birds ahead, but Jets’ Sue Puls en­sured the teams went into the break locked on two goals each.

Goals to Leah Hawker of Thun­der­birds and an­other to El­lie Mor­row, Jets, kept scores dead­locked early in the sec­ond half and it was a goal to Nhill’s Jess Hayes that sep­a­rated the teams.

Yanac con­trolled much of the play in its game with Kaniva Women and fin­ished with a three-goal win de­spite solid work by Kaniva goal­keeper Si­mone Mitchell, which in­cluded suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing two penalty strokes.

Shanaye Alexan­der scored twice and Su­san Hedt once for Yanac.

IN A TAN­GLE: Erin Alexan­der of Yanac Women shapes to clear the ball de­spite an at­tempt by Kaniva’s Jules Braisby. Pic­ture: SI­MON KING

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