The Preliminary Finals on September 7 showed the improvement in team play and team strategy which has occurred during the 2019 winter hockey season. Two excellent matches featuring teams from Newtown Hockey Club were played and we congratulate the players, coaches and managers on the way they represented the Club.
Under 14 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Kardinia White 3-1
Last Saturday Spirit played Kardinia White in the preliminary final, a team we had not beaten until the last home and away match of the hockey season on the 24th of August. We went in with some confidence after a 7 nil win against them in that last round match, but as we know, finals can produce unexpected results. So, Spirit ran onto the pitch without any complacency and this was justified in the opening minutes with Kardinia putting us on notice early that a repeat of our previous meeting was unlikely. The ball was hotly contested and possession was shared equally in the opening minutes. An early chance with Harry W running in open space deep into the D didn’t come off. Kardinia tightened up in defense. Harry B found a way in a congested D to break the deadlock and give us a 1 nil lead. Spirit started to gain a greater share of the ball and gave Kardinia little opportunity past their 25 line. We ran the ball well into offense and looked likely to score on numerous occasions. A well-earned short corner saw the two Harry’s combine, Harry W finishing off with a tomahawk to give us our second. Kardinia continued to press us with close, honest tackling that hampered our attempts to open up the play. They pressed harder into offense and forced a short corner with 5 minutes left in the half. Spirit defenders held firm and the score at half time stood at 2 nil.
The second half started tense. The ball spent most of the time between the 25 lines without either team really threatening goals. Great running by Adam across centre pitch helped prevent Kardinia breaking through their 25 line on numerous occasions. It wasn’t until 10 minutes in that Spirit managed a short corner when Harry W ran the ball into the D. A powerful shot by Harry B just missed. Kardinia reacted well, earning a short corner and scored their first with about 12 minutes left. The rising tension was capped when Harry B fired in a great running goal with about 8 minutes to go sending the score to 3 – 1. The remainder of the match saw defensive play by both teams, Spirit defending their lead, Kardinia focused on closing down space that we were creating up forward.
Congratulations to Spirit on making the grand final and to Kardinia White on a hard fought match. Newtown Spirit will face up to Kardinia Blue in the Grand Final, in what is expected to be another fantastic game between the two teams.
Under 17 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Geelong Jaguars 0-1
In chilly conditions Newtown Spirit tackled a determined Geelong Jaguars in the Preliminary Final on Saturday. There was even play with hard marking by both sides at the start of the game. Spirit players displayed lots of fast paced running and more confidence this time round against our opposition. Jaguars were provided with 2 short corners but our replacement goalie E.J did some fantastic dives which prevented them from scoring. Both Tom and Jarret were able to apply lots of pressure with great run and passing, and created scoring opportunities. Harley was able to continue his fierce determination and fast running down the wing, but was unlucky to miss his target. Jaguars however did finally score their first goal, ending the first half as 1-nil.
Spirit started the second half with the same level of intensity. Harri worked tirelessly in both attack and defence, marking up and continued cutting off balls to the winger. With Spirit’s hungry attitude both Bailey and Caleb provided some fantastic defence work, their best so far. Mitchell was able to link up some great passing to allow some scoring opportunities. Angus and Ethan were valiant with their usual hard running, marking, tackling, and always looked to pass. Nick continued his ideal role as winger, always ready to slot a goal, but unfortunately Spirit wasn’t able to replicate its great form from the previous 2 weeks. Desperate to win, our players took the game on, but we probably needed to be smarter and more cohesive to work the ball forward. With a tense last 5 minutes both sides were unable to produce further goals. The end score, nil to 1, is definitely telling it was a tough game but Spirit should be proud to have made it this far to the finals after a rocky season, and to have conceded just the one goal against the league’s highest scoring side.
Thank-you EJ to fill-in as a replacement goalie, and also to Mitchell for doubling up every week. See you at presentation night.