The 2018 hockey season is drawing to a close and what fantastic games our 4 teams put in!
It was a beautiful day for the Preliminary Finals, but fortune didn’t favour our U12 and U14 teams, with matches which couldn’t have been any closer. As we had two teams playing each other in the U17 Final, one team was always going to have to bow out for this hockey season. Congratulations and well done to all the teams on a fantastic hockey season.
Under 12 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Kardinia 1-2
This was a very close game, with Newtown Spirit using the width of the field to advantage, and creating many forward moves. Well considered passes to team mates and good scanning combined with some excellent ball control skills was a feature of Spirit’s game. Great defence by Ollie A and great running back to cover by Emma despite this being a new position for her. As the final whistle drew closer with the score at 1-1, it looked as if we were headed for extra time. However Kardinia scored the winning goal with 2 seconds to spare in the game, giving Spirit no chance to reply.
Under 14 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Geelong 2-2
Crunch time for Newtown today and a must win game to make it through to the grand final. Geelong wasted no time in making ground up the field from the whistle, but stoic defence from Newtown was able to neutralise the pressure from a series of short corners. Geelong were dominating possession and territory for most of the first half, but in one of the few instances Newtown were able to make it into opposition territory, we were able to win a free hit near the 25. As a bonus, one of Geelong’s more dominant players had a short break for a few minutes beside the tech bench. Newtown sensed an opportunity to capitalise and Charley produced a decisive run up the left side of the field and delivered a cross into the D for Basyl tap in the first goal. Unfortunately, Geelong were back to full strength soon after and equalised with the half ending 1:1.
The second half was a more even contest with Newtown now confident they had the measure of Geelong after their first half performance. Play moved from end to end through the majority of the half with both teams having multiple chances to score. The deadlock was finally broken with 5 minutes remaining when Newtown attacked up the right wing and into the D earning a short corner. Grace was ideally positioned near the post and hit the ball in for a 2:1 lead. Geelong realising their dominant season may end prematurely, ramped up the pressure and reciprocated with an equaliser from a short corner with 3 minutes remaining of the clock. The score was 2:2 at the final whistle, so it was into 7 minutes of extra time each way, or a golden goal to finish the game.
Neither team was able to bother the scoreboard in extra time with the game finally ending a 2:2 draw. Geelong moved through to the grand final against Torquay courtesy of their higher position on the ladder at the end of the regular season. Newtown can hold their heads high, as this game demonstrated how far we have come during the hockey season, previously having been beaten by Geelong in the two earlier encounters. See you all at presentation night at 6pm on Wednesday 19th Sept so we can celebrate what has been a great season of hockey.
Under 17 Mixed
Newtown Strikers vs Newtown Spirit 2-0
Strikers and Spirit faced off in the U17 Preliminary Final on Saturday. Spirit had beaten Strikers in all 5 of their encounters during the home and away season, so Strikers knew they’d need to bring their best performances to be in with a chance. Caleb was a stand-out early with his excellent defensive pressure, he dispossessed players on many occasions and both he and Sam R made some really nice strong passes forward. Spirit had a few early chances with their fast attackers getting through for a hit on goal, but Oscar defended one hit, then cleared a Penalty Corner hit shortly after. Spirit came forward again with a ball across goal but there was no-one to receive it.
Strikers then had a chance up forward with Oscar passing to Harry and Harry scored. Strikers were soon into attack again with a Penalty Corner but Ella’s hit to Jack was defended. Spirit kept the pressure on Strikers defenders with one hit just wide of goal, and a subsequent Spirit Penalty Corner was cleared well by Miles.
In the second half, Spirit had another Penalty Corner early, and again Strikers defended well, with Miles then running the ball into attack and passing to Harry who hit a great reverse-stick into goal to give Strikers a 2-nil lead. Strikers had a few more opportunities with Sam S and Jarret taking the ball forward on the wings, and Miles, Harry, Oscar and Jack bringing the ball into the circle, but Spirit held off further goals. With the clock ticking down, Spirit lifted to have the majority of the attack for the last 10 minutes, but Strikers’ defence was rock-solid, with Luka deflecting a hit on goal and Caleb, Sam R, Ella, EJ, Jack, Oscar and Miles keeping Spirit clear and causing their hits to be wide of goals. With a final score of 2-nil to Strikers, we go on to meet Torquay in the Grand Final next week as underdogs, but this week’s game has shown that we have what it takes to win the U17 Barnes Shield for Newtown.
Newtown Spirit vs Newtown Strikers 0-2
Newtown Spirit played Newtown Strikers in a highly competitive game on Saturday to determine who would go through to the grand final against Torquay. As expected both sides were determined to win and played an exceptional level of hockey. On coach’s orders Spirit came out hard in the first half with Spirit playing forward and putting on the pressure. With a break away at the 11 minute mark Strikers were able to take control of the play and score with a deflection high into the corner of the goal. Undeterred Spirit increased the pressure and won many short corners, however, were unable to convert. In the second half Spirit remained focused and attacked often, though were unable to penetrate the Strikers defense with the final result 2:0 to the Strikers.
Congratulations to Strikers for a well played game and to Spirit for really pushing them throughout the game to the final whistle. It was fantastic to see so many Spirit players lift during the game and as always thanks to our U/14 players who were exceptional, our two Harry’s, Oliver, and Angus who stepped up at the last minute to fill the goalie position. Sadly next year Newtown Spirit will lose Rachel, Oliver and Emily who will be moving up a level. These players have been so strong throughout this season, we thank them for their efforts and leadership and wish them all well for the next season. For those who will remain in the U/17 team next year it is exciting to see the team potential and how it may develop over another season, particularly with so many strong younger players really developing their talent.