It was a lovely day for the 2015 Grand Final and match reports tell us about the great standard of hockey which all our teams played.
With 6 teams participating in 5 of the 7 Hockey Geelong divisions available, it was always going to be an exciting day. All the matches featured competitions between the top two teams in each division at the end of the home and away matches, so we were expecting some great play.
Congratulations to the teams who finished as Minor Premiers for the 2015 season:
- U15 – Newtown Spirit
- U17 – Newtown Strikers
- D1 Men – Newtown Falcons
- D2 Men – Newtown Strikers
Congratulations to all the Club’s teams on such a great season:
- U11 – Premiers – Newtown Strikers (no finals for this division)
- U13 – Runners Up – Newtown Strikers
- U15 – Premiers – Newtown Strikers
- U15 – Runners Up – Newtown Spirit
- U17 – Premiers – Newtown Strikers
- D1 Men – Runners Up – Newtown Falcons
- D2 Men – Runners Up – Newtown Strikers
And don’t forget the Umpires, as without them we wouldn’t be able to play and enjoy the game. Congratulations to the 4 members who were appointed to umpire the Grand Finals – great recognition for the effort they have put in this year, with extra coaching received, and experience gained by umpiring at higher levels – Jess Welsh, Adam Gieles, Leo Fitzgerald and Courtney Pearson. Thanks Umpires!
While match reports show that some of the results didn’t go as we might have liked, this is a fantastic effort by all our teams and by these players. There were quite a number of players who played 2 games for the day – a great effort.
John Stephenson Award
Congratulations to Sean Fitzgerald on winning the John Stephenson Award for 2015 – a well deserved win which recognises the qualities of unselfish commitment to hockey in Geelong, leadership, sportsmanship and excellence in performance.
Newtown Strikers vs Bellarine 1 2-4
Saturday morning of the Grand Final dawned with great anticipation, some nerves and much excitement for the day ahead. After a great season of many tightly fought games and mixed results against Bellarine 1, it was going to be a close match. Bellarine started the scoring after 15 minutes of close and competitive play that saw great tackling and good defensive lunges from Caleb and Sarah.
A run through into the circle saw a clear shot from Bellarine 1:0. Bellarine continued their strong attacks running through the midfield but were often countered by Jamie who was having a strong game, trapping, tackling, intercepting and moving the ball through the play and out to Liv on the wing with good support shown by Jemma. One well timed hit from Jamie reached Miles Rau poised in the circle to capitalise on such great possession. Miles controlled the ball and drilled it past the Bellarine goal keeper bringing the score to 1 : 1.
Matthew and Miles Reilly combined well in the midfield with Kasey to feed the ball down into the circle but the Bellarine defence stood strong and the opportunities could not be converted into points. In the second half after positive encouragement from Brendan for the last time this season, Strikers made a strong move into the Bellarine half. However, Bellarine capitalised on a breakaway and were awarded a short corner, failing on the first attempt but converting the second opportunity 2:1. A further short corner after penetrating play gave Bellarine a further goal, 3:1.
Pleasingly, Strikers did not drop their heads in response to the rapid fire scoring by Bellarine. Instead, Strikers continued to work up towards the circle with Amelia playing high in an attacking role. A strong pass from Tom reached Miles Rau in the circle and another goal was added to Miles’ tally for 2015! Newtown sniffed the possibility of a comeback at 3:2. Newtown continued to pile on the pressure, playing a tight game on the player but always looking for options out wide , with strong passing and good calling. Declan and Ella maintained momentum and Will provided good sweeping defence along the backline. A call for foot just inside the circle delivered an opportunity for Bellarine off a short corner and with a strong hit, the score was 4:2. After the strong and consistent pressure applied throughout the day, Max is to be congratulated on his goal keeping efforts. His enthusiasm at training is to be commended and has seen Max’s skills and repertoire of saves increase each week.
Whilst Bellarine may be the Premiers for 2015, Newtown Strikers can be mightily proud of what they have achieved and the passion which they have shown throughout the season. Runners Up 2015 – great effort team!
Newtown Strikers vs Newtown Spirit 1-0
What a truly glorious and victorious Grandfinal Day 2015 for the Newtown Strikers! Congratulations everyone on waging such an immensely intense contest against the equally talented Spirit team. It’s actually equal measure hard and fun to come up against your own club for the Seasons Big Day.
It was a nail biting final and I can say that we were all so glued to the minute by minute action that every pass, push and tackle felt like it had the power to be a game changer. And it did! Adrenalin flowed and so did our players. With smooth plays and a rock solid defence that sprung into action the Strikers team was a pleasure to watch. The demonstrations of skill were exceptional at times, and listening to everyone unite in support of the team was fantastic. The continual onslaught by Spirit as they attacked had Marcus at the top of his coaching game, he and Dave changing players and everyone had the chance to shine! ! Thank you to everyone for such an inspirational game. Committed coaches, players with dedication and excellent umpiring that kept such a highly contested game flowing both fairly and well. And did I mention that Tom/Rachel Combo – IT WAS A REAL WINNER !!!!!!
Newtown Spirit vs Newtown Strikers 0-1
A great season by Newtown Spirit to finish top of the ladder, and a good win in the Preliminary Final gave the team a positive outlook for the Grand Final. The absence of two key players, Amber and Bronte, was always going to make things a little difficult but the commitment and effort shown by all the team could not be faulted.
With three players fronting up for their second game for the day, Newtown Spirit began well, with Corey controlling the midfield, and great ball control allowed him to initiate attacks for Spirit. Strikers scored early in the game but Spirit responded with great running and support for team mates by Tom, Declan and Jonah. Spirit had Monique, Emily, Callum and Miles in great positions to create chances in the circle. Calm and composed defence by Eneko, Oliver and Cassidy, well backed up by Luka in goals, turned away many Strikers advances, but Spirit could not score the goal needed to force a draw. Well done to both teams – a great effort all year.
Newtown Strikers vs Saints 2-1
The much anticipated Grand Final Day finally arrived. The signs were good when most of the team arrived half an hour before the game enabling us to have a better warm up than any other game of the year, although five of our players were playing in the U15 Grand Final while the rest of us warmed up.
As we marched onto the field, the presence of two goalies got a few heads turning and people asking questions. Luka and Josh both made significant contributions to the team during the year and deserved a piece of the action on GF day. Our aim was to go out hard early and get a quick score on the board. After some good short passing up the right wing through Bronte and Tom P early in the match, Dan was able to deliver the goods by earning a gritty goal within the first 10 minutes of the game. The game continued to be tight with both teams defending well and not letting each other take control of the game. The Saints eventually equalised the score later in the first half from a short corner. We followed up by earning a short corner right on the half time whistle but unfortunately we were unable to convert.
We had a quick regroup at half time. We were doing all the right things and needed to keep sticking to our match day plan which had previously worked against the Saints. We only had 25 minutes remaining for the season and needed to throw everything at it. Three of our players (Sean, Luke T and Noah) were in their last season of Junior Hockey and wanted to end on a high note.
The second half started as strong as the first half with the Strikers earning an early short corner. Although the first shot missed, Sean was in the right spot to score in the follow-up; score 2-1. The rest of the game was a real arm wrestle. Both sides had impenetrable defences and tireless mid-fields. The last threatening move of the game occurred when the Saints earned a short corner in the dying minutes of the game. Fortunately their shot was wide and we were able to control the last few minutes of the game. Victory to Newtown!
Thanks to all the U17 players this year. You have been a pleasure the coach and I am sure you will all continue to make a great contribution to the Newtown Hockey Club in years to come.
Division 1 Men
Newtown Falcons vs Saints Black 4-5
A thrilling game by Newtown Falcons, with Saints scoring the winning ‘golden’ goal in the second period of extra time.
With the Division 1 Mens Grand Final played at 6:30pm on Saturday, the crowd was large, and excitement was off the charts. Falcons came into the game with a full squad bolstered by a couple of stolen Strikers players for support. The Addy had us as underdogs, but boy we didn’t believe it, we came out firing and managed to dominate the possession and territory in the 1st half, unfortunately without much advantage. Newtown’s first goal was scored by Luke H with a reverse stick shot, after great work by Sean earned a penalty corner. Luke P was, as always, cool and composed and frequently intercepted attacking moves by Saints, and worked his way through traffic to feed the Newtown forwards. Score at half time was 1-1.
A tight and hard fought 2nd half was always going to ensue, with the game level for the very most part, going goal for goal with Saints. Newtown’s 2nd goal came after great play by Jimmy and deflected off defenders sticks into the goal. The third goal brought a roar from the crowd when Sean scored from the baseline – How did he do that??? Newtown showed great skill in playing the overhead shots – both in tossing them and in bringing down those tossed by Saints. With not long to go in the game, Saints were 4-3 up, but continued pressure and great play by all resulted in a great goal to Kieran, and the score was tied at 4-4.
So into Golden Goal extra time – and the goal was in the net off a short corner and it seemed as if Newtown had won – but the goal is disallowed, so on to the next period of extra time without a score.
Unfortunately a couple of great dragflicks on Saints Penalty Corners saw them convert 2 Penalty Strokes, 1 being the winning goal scored just minutes before the final whistle in Golden Goal extra time, due to the defenders on the post being struck by the ball.
A great season concluded a little disapointingly, however the development of younger players and inclusions from some very talented Premier League and Vic League 1 guys saw us take it to the other teams in the competition and finish 1st on the ladder at the end of the regular season so congratulations are due there.
Congratulations to Luke Hatton who was named ‘Player of the Final’. Well done Luke.
Division 2 Men
Geelong vs Newtown Strikers 1-5
After coming off the previous week’s high of beating Torquay we were pumped to have another chance at taking on Geelong who had defeated us on our previous two encounters. The game started well but unfortunately it soon became apparent that Geelong were able to convert their opportunities while our numerous efforts were close but never reached the back of the net.
As the game progressed Geelong were able to score five goals while our only goal came from a penalty stroke, expertly finished by Rodan Smith. Maybe it was a case that we peaked a week too early, we by no means played badly and the whole team put in everything they had. On the day Geelong were just the better side.