The first round of the Finals for the 2019 hockey season was played over two days, with very contrasting weather. Saturday dawned bright and beautiful and was a lovely day for some great hockey. Sunday was a different story, with thunderstorms and rain casting a gloom over the day, and at one stage looking like ‘the dementors from Harry Potter were coming’ as umpire Tom M commented. Congratulations to all the teams on their efforts and commiserations to the teams who have now finished their hockey season.
Under 14 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Kardinia Blue 4-5
Spirit confronted a determined Kardinia Blue in Saturday’s qualifying final. Early play was even with hard marking and good running by all of our players. An early corner for Spirit was well defended by Kardinia. This was followed quickly by Kardinia forcing a short corner of their own that was also defended well with Mai diving to her right to stop a certain goal. Our defenders started to feel the pressure and Kardinia scored with 15 minutes left in the half. This was followed up 4 minutes later with another. Spirit then lifted, with our defenders manning up more quickly and Mason instigating numerous passages of play linking up good passes that started to turn the match. Our defenders started passing the ball long out of the back half and hitting our mark running into offense. A great run from Harry B all the way deep into the D resulted in our first score. Only minutes later a Spirit short corner saw Harry B drive home our second leveling the match at 2 all. Some neat maneuvers in defense by Daniel helped ward off the last Kardinia attack for the half. Then a run by Tilly into our D resulted in a short corner. This was followed by a second, then a third; none resulting in a score. The half ended with Spirit looking the better side, controlling the bulk of the play and generating many more scoring opportunities.
Spirit started the second half with the same level of intensity with which they finished the first. Harry B struck early, threading through a skillful goal deep in the D through a forest of sticks and legs, giving us a 3-2 lead and Spirit looked dominant. In the following 5 to 10 minutes our defense started to show cracks with Kardinia finding loose players helped by a lack of spirited communication. This opened the door for Kardinia who stepped up and ran the ball more, winning a short corner, then another that resulted in a goal to even the match again. Spirit responded, in kind, with 2 short corners, the second giving Harry B his 4th. Kardinia scored again at the 4 minute mark evening things up and then again with about 1 ½ minutes left on the clock to end the match with a 5-4 win.
In a contest that could have gone either way, Spirit showed that we have the potential to reverse the result and better, if we get the chance. Well done and all eyes on this weekend’s match.
Under 17 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Kardinia 3-1
Another beautiful sunny day for our Semi final against Kardinia. Wow what an exciting game, Spirit had all the parents and spectators hanging onto their seats in awe. As Coach Pete quoted, what a win, you blew me away. Lots of hard running and great teamwork ensured Newtown Spirit a healthy win. All the Spirit players looked incredibly fierce. Both Tom and Jarret were able to apply lots of tackling pressure with great passing against a much improved opposition, which helped Angus gain our first goal in the first half of the match, giving Spirit an end score of 1 to nil.
Spirit continued their hungry attitude in the second half allowing Mitch a fantastic pass to Harley which gained Spirit another goal. Our defence work from both Bailey and Caleb was excellent preventing goal scoring opportunities for Kardinia, along with our dependable goalie Max, providing Kardinia no chances in scoring. Harri, Ethan and Nick all played well in the forward line where only a few times were beaten to the ball. Harley was able to continue his fast paced running which gained him another fantastic goal. Spirit should be proud of themselves since Kardinia took on Jaguars 5-0 the previous week. Not to mention we had Jarret who had played a game the night prior, Mitchell played a game just before, and Ethan struggling with back injury. So well done team, lets prepare for another epic match this week.
Division 1 Women
Newtown Falcons vs Saints 0-3
The goal come finals play is to progress through to the big game and have a chance to play for a flag but it was not to be for Division 1 Women’s Falcons. However, it was a terrific effort and display of hockey to make Saints earn their advance into the next round. This is the first time in the 7 years since I, Deb Barnett have been here that we had to limit our players list for game day. With 21 players listed for selection we could only choose 16. Along with 9 ladies, 7 middle school and high school players were rostered on.
After a tightly contested first half on both sides of the ball and the pitch, the players were determined and excited for the second half of play. Mother Nature stepped in not only in the form of rain but thunder and lightning which resulted in a 5 minute delay in play. The game was able to continue and while the score ended 3-0 in favor of Saints the team held their heads high. I hope their vision has been inspired by the growth this season that has the opposition concerned already. The future is bright for the Falcons Women with a solid core of ladies and a wealth of experience gained by our school age players that matured their game immensely. With 34 players getting Div 1 exposure this year the team is poised to make some exciting strides forward in 2020.
Division 2 Women
Newtown Spirit vs Saints White 1-2 in extra time
Newtown Spirit were expecting another close match against Saints White and the game did not disappoint. Saints attacked strongly in the early part of the game and managed to get the first goal on the board after a close in scramble in the goal circle. Spirit fought back well, with great midfield defence lead by Andie, Hannah, Kellie and Beth meeting the opposition well to gain possession and pass to running forwards. Tracey and Hillary at full back met the Saints attacks high and were backed up by Kylie with another solid game, showing great position and great timing in making her tackles and interceptions. Saints had a number of short corners with direct shots on goal but were not able to score.
Claudia, Georgie, Deb, Lauren and Maryanne created great links between defence and attack, running with the ball and running to space to receive from team mates. Excellent positioning, passing and ball control skills by Peta, Amelia and Kirsty got the ball into attack and into the circle on a number of occasions without a score on the board. Spirit persisted and equalled the score after a square pass from Peta to Kellie, and a strong hit from Kellie into the circle which found Claudia’s stick to deflect the ball into goal.
Newtown continued to press their attack with Georgie in position for a number of shots on goal but deflected by the Saints goalie. The game continued at a good intensity and a good skill level and could have gone either way. At full time, the score was still tied at 1-1, and so we were into ‘golden goal’ extra time. Newtown Spirit continued to display good skills and teamwork, with desperate defence at times. A short corner for Saints unfortunately found a foot on the line, resulting in a penalty stroke – almost saved by Claire, and the game was over.
Despite the loss, players and Coach were happy with the way the team finished the season. As a team and as individual players, there has been great improvement during the season, and the strong finish will give the team a good basis to start 2020. Congratulations to the team and all the players, who achieved the best result for our D2 Women for 5 years.
Division 2 Men
Newtown Strikers vs Corio 2-5