The 2016 hockey season has provided some great games and this week was no exception. With finals coming closer, teams are working on consolidating their position on the ladder, and the benefits of the season’s training are showing.
Very wet weather saw a small group of keen players take cover and play some ‘verandah hockey’. The small space available meant some great skills were used in this close-quarters game of hockey, with some excellent ball control, lovely spins and good use of players in the space behind the ball. Non-verbal communication opened up avenues to get passes through the opposition’s defence cover and attack the goal (and the goal post). Great work by the boys team, (Sam, Sam, Jai and Maggie) to win the game 6-4 against the girls (Amy, Claire and Ginny).
Newtown Rebels vs Newtown Strikers.
Rebels faced fellow Newtown team the Strikers. From the outset, the match appeared a lot more open than our last game with players from both teams focussed on spreading out. This was great to see. The first part of the game was a real arm wrestle to move the ball into the forward zones. Rebels players elected to short pass through the middle part of the ground, as Strikers were quick to cover any long options out wide. Quickly passing the ball through any gaps between defenders will help move the ball through this section and with improved confidence in pushing/hitting, the wider options will become more attractive. Hamish was well positioned on the wing, but moved in to provide a shorter option and ran on to any loose balls forward of the middle.
Rebels players had to work hard in defence as the Strikers continually attacked, with some determined work by Hana, Mai, Seb and Surry trapping on the last line and clearing the area. When the Rebels finally broke through the defensive wall in the middle of the ground, Georgie and Scarlett impressed with some long, fast breaks forward, and the girls combined for a great running goal. A couple of other strong scoring shots were stopped on the line but it was great to see the improved confidence of several players in front of goal and their willingness to attack in a more direct manner.
The second half saw the majority of the play in our attacking half, with changes to the forward structure. Some strong tackling and dribbling in the middle provided fast ball movement and there were several close misses. A great passage of play saw Scarlett pass quickly to Seb who controlled the ball and finished off accurately. Surry also finished truly after several attempts. In all, it was a great team effort, with all players showing improvement in a number of areas. Seb was awarded Best Team Player, in his return game after an extended break.
Newtown Strikers vs Newtown Rebels
A big thank you to Rach, Ruby’s mum for stepping in and helping out with the team on Saturday. Saturday morning was our first real winter game day with chilly winds and a little rain. We focused on trying to keep warm and even did some running exercises at half time. Emma played her beautiful shots from the wing and making smart choices for passes. Mrs Alex snuck a sneaky goal in early in the first half with the ball kept rolling enough to make it over the line. Throughout the game Isla, Ruby and Eliza worked together to have attacking shots on goal. Amy worked tirelessly on making passes out wide and following up after making passes. Mr Alex was working throughout the centre and running to keep warm all morning.
Amelia played a strong role as goal keeper and when defending was not sending the ball directly back into play but pushing the ball towards the sides of the field to assist getting the ball back to strikers. Thank you all for backing up each other with your defence and offence plays. Remember when taking penalties to pass the ball quickly back into play and be in front of your opponent.
Newtown Raiders vs Golden Plains 2
Another great game from the Raiders team with all the players working hard to gain possession and look for team mates in good position. With 1 player down, the team showed some great teamwork and excellent passing. There were a number of forward moves with some shots at goal missing by the narrowest of margins.
Newtown Spirit vs Torquay
Newtown Spirit displayed their improved stick skills when they took on Torquay in the Under 8 competition at Lloyd Reserve on Saturday. Max provided plenty of pace at centre forward, stealing the ball from the opposition and taking advantage of quick passes from half backs Nate and Ruben as he raced towards goals. While Lucy patrolled calmly and capably at full back, Avah and Charlotte lurked dangerously on the wings, pushing forward in an effort to score for their team. The players threw themselves into the action with enthusiasm, which led to crowding at times when several teammates converged on the ball at once, triggering scrappy play, less passing options and congestion down the centre of the field.
At half time Coach Kellie urged the team to stick to their positions to help open up play and work on their tackling skills by keeping their sticks low to the ground. She praised their stick skills but asked them to slow down, “take some time’’ and pass out wide. After the break players moved to their new positions, with Summah enjoying a stint at left wing and sister Avah at right wing. The play was more open, with the wings working hard to provide options out wide while Lucy added drive at centre forward. There were several examples of great passing in the second half, linking multiple players including Ruben, Charlotte, Lucy and Avah as they ran towards goal. Spirit tackled strongly, with much less hacking, and passed more accurately to each other.
Max won the Best Team Player award for the game, after putting in a strong performance all match, listening to his coach’s instructions and working hard to implement them. Great work Max. And well done to Meyah too for filling in for the opposition, where she proved a real asset for Torquay while keeping Spirit players on their toes.
Under 11 South
Newtown Spirit vs Torquay Tornadoes 7-0
The sun was shining and everyone was itching to get out and have a great game. With Kellie back and a full team thanks to Nate filling in yet again, the Spirit came out strong and fast. Kellie was truly amazed by the the standard at which the entire team played. She was blown away and had very little to say at the half and full time break.
Everyone played their positions perfectly and supported each other. Our backs once again were able to move the ball forward through the halves and up to the forwards who ran very hard the entire game. Our forwards were relentless against Torquay and as a result we had Jamie and Mia each score one goal, Angus score 2 and Alice 3 including what can only be described as the goal of the season. A blistering cross into the D from Angus on the right, saw Alice in the perfect spot to deflect it into the goals. Oliver and Nate were very unlucky not to score but some great goalie work saw Oliver denied a couple of times. Harry had a great game in goals but did get a little cold!
It’s just so wonderful to see a team coming together the way the Spirit team have this season. Well done everyone.
Newtown Strikers vs Torquay 1-2
A great game by Strikers against Torquay, with great determination to get the ball and and good scanning to see where team mates were. Zoe enjoyed the centre forward position, gaining possession and making many second efforts to benefit her team, and Owen was working hard to provide opportunities to attack. Solid and steady defence by Kenna and Nathan but Torquay’s tendency to crowd the ball made it difficult to get the ball out of defence and out of danger. Great work by Michael in goals with some more attacking play stopped a number of Torquay shots at goal.
The second half saw some better creation of space and great running by Ruby at left wing took the ball all the way to the goal for a back stick score. The midfield worked hard, with Chris, Jack and Lachlan looking to take free passes quickly and get the ball to Ruby and Maggie on the wings. Good calling by Declan and Gill helped to create some forward movement and Strikers were unlucky not to get more reward for their efforts. Best Team Player awards to Nathan, Zoe and Michael. Thanks to Ruby and Maggie for filling in from Spirit.
Under 11 North
Newtown Rebels vs Bellarine Lightning 2-1
Newtown U11 Rebels played host to Bellarine Lightning at Stead Park on Saturday. Rebels went into attack from the get-go and caught Bellarine’s defence unprepared, allowing Basyl to slot a goal through at the 2 minute mark. Bellarine then tried to even the score but Newtown was too good in defence, with Grace making some excellent clearing hits. Kiah took the ball into attack soon after and made a great pass to Charlotte who nearly scored. Mid-way through the first half, great passing from Basyl to Sam, who then passed to Kiah, resulted in a nice goal to Kiah. Imogen was unlucky not to score at the 20-minute mark, and just before half time Bellarine drew a short corner but Newtown defended well, leaving the score at half time Newtown 2-nil.
Teijai and Genevieve had chances to score early in the second half. From there, Bellarine applied lots of attacking pressure. Olivia and Charlotte were great in defence but Bellarine was able to push through and score a goal at the 7 minute mark of the second half. Good passing and Basyl, Kiah and Teijai created quite a few goal opportunities but Bellarine had numbers in defence to prevent any further goals. The final score was Newtown 2-1. Thanks to Luca for being Goalkeeper for the day, he was kept very busy in the second half!
Newtown Strikers vs Newtown Spirit 8-1
Strikers met Spirit this week in an all Newtown U13 game. What ensued was an entertaining game of hockey with the Strikers coming out 8-1 in the end. In truth the score line did not reflect the competitive nature of the game and the good spirit in which it was played. Harrison, Harry, Ella and Miles all put in sold games in what was a strong team effort where every player had a moment or two where their play was exceptional. Special note should be made of Sam who played for Spirit and put in a solid performance.
Newtown Spirit vs Newtown Strikers 1-8
The Spirit team went into the game against a formidable Newtown Strikers side missing some of its key players. Newtown Strikers were able to exert pressure right from the start and dominated by scoring goals at regular intervals before our inexperienced side could settle. Jarrett, Sam R, Ely, Max and Harry S tried their best to lift the side by some bold tackles and keeping ball possession.
We started the second half more positively. Sam S and Bailey showed some good defensive skills and not only thwarted the Strikers aggression but also timely cleared the ball wide to start some counter attacks of their own. Midway in the 2nd half Basyl had a good run and passed the ball to Patrick who slammed a perfect goal from top of the circle which immediately lifted the spirits! The young and inexperienced side started to feel more confident and started to counter attack a much stronger side. Basyl, Harry, Reilly, Claudia, Kiah, Patrick and Charley showed a lot of intensity and had some good moves but were unlucky not to convert after coming too close to score.
The 8-1 scoreline in the end doesn’t do justice to the great spirit and intensity in which the game was played. Thanks to U11 players Basyl, Sam S, Patrick and Kiah and Striker’s Sam R to fill in and showing some great skills against a strong opposition. Max Humphrey playing his 50th game, showed a lot of character, inspiring the younger players. Jarrett had a good game as a centre half directing some great moves in the 2nd half and who can forget Max Hyde’s efforts in the goals who denied some certain goals with some excellent goal keeping.
Newtown Strikers vs Newtown Spirit 3-1
On Saturday the 2 Newtown U15 teams came up against each other in a home town derby. The final 3:1 score line registered a win for the Strikers but did not reflect how close the game was, once again showing how close both teams are in ability. Miles Rau stood out as our primary goal scorer on the day delivering 2 of the 3 with the third coming from Oscar. Rachel was selected as Most Valuable player for her efforts in placing the ball in the best positions for our goal scorers to drive it home.
Newtown Spirit vs Newtown Strikers 1-3
Newtown Spirit were defeated 3-1 by Newtown Strikers in cold and windy conditions on Saturday, reversing the result from earlier in the season. The teams were evenly matched throughout the first half with both teams having opportunities to score. The Strikers proved more clinical in attack making the most of their chances and led 2-Nil at half-time. The evenness of the match continued in the second half with both teams pressing forward. Eventually the Spirit scored a well deserved goal through Miles Reilley, giving them the chance of salvaging a draw. However the Strikers put the result beyond doubt with another goal and held on for a well deserved win. Despite missing some regular players the Spirit fought gallantly throughout the game never giving up.
Newtown Spirit vs Newtown Strikers 7-2
Newtown Derby today with both Spirit and Strikers able to field teams, amongst some juggling and begging… Great return match for Callum who played his first game following long time out with injury. Nice goal Callum! Jonah very generously offered to fill in as GK today and thankfully was well supported by the defensive structure in the team, with Tom and Nick doing a great job in defence. First half saw both teams have their opportunities in attack with even number of penalty corners, however Spirit nudging ahead with 3 goals to Strikers’ 2. Great defensive and midfield attention by Dan, enabling a strong forward attack.
Second half more effectively spent in Spirit’s attack, limiting Strikers’ opportunity to move into their 25. No penalty corners for Strikers in this half compared to 3 for Spirit and an added 4 goals to Spirit, thanks to finishing by Matt and Gus, off some strong midfield passages. Great to see Declan and Callum gaining confidence after long periods out with injury, supported by reliable structure provided by so many players across the team.
Thanks again to our very capable and generous additions, Laurence and Nick, who give great effort every time they join us.
Bye next week so another break before the home stretch.
Newtown Strikers vs Newtown Spirit 2-7
We came up against a very strong Spirit this weekend and knew we were up for a difficult game. We stuck to our normal team structure and this worked well. The team worked hard to make leads and execute clean passes and this resulted in a couple of well-earned goals. Corey, Tom P, Tom M and Luke H did a great job trying to tag some of the key Spirit players but they were difficult to contain with their pace and high level skills. It was a great experience to play against a strong side like this and we learnt a lot from the game. A key take-away will be to not focus too much on key individuals on the other side to the extent that we lose focus on tagging other opposition players as well. We’ll need to think about how we defeat this team in the finals……
Division 1 Men
Newtown Falcons vs Torquay Tornadoes 3-0
Newtown Strikers vs Saints 2 – 2
Well Strikers are currently on a roll, after winning their last two matches, coming up against the second placed team on the ladder, Saints was going to be our next big challenge. As has become a regular occurrence, our overflowing team list prior to the game evaporated leaving us with a straight eleven players to take the field. It was nice to have Mark filling in to make numbers but it was going to be a tough game none the less. The game started at a quick pace and both teams traded attacking and defensive blows until Saints were able to score their first goal just before half time.
During the half time break we discussed what was and wasn’t working, our usual ability to move the ball quickly out to defense was being made difficult by a strong press and unfortunately Hamish had injured his knee so would be sitting out the second half. So with a player short on the field, we came out determined to play the brand of hockey we’ve developed this season, focusing on our short game, moving the ball with numbers and when the option is available releasing to our forward line.
Thankfully we were the first to score in the second half through a short corner conversion by Adham, leveling the scores, but shortly after Saints countered with their second goal. As the game went on it was looking like we would have to console ourselves with a close loss but in the final two minutes of the game we were able to get another short corner and with a similar shot to the first, Adham scored our second equalizing goal. Saints then obviously lifted their intensity even higher but it wasn’t enough with the game finishing in a hard fought draw.
All in all, a great team effort considering the circumstances, a number of regular players weren’t available and playing the whole second half a player down against Saints with a full bench proves the guts and determination of this Strikers squad. Grinding out games and supporting each other to get unexpected but extremely rewarding results like that seen today will cement our spot in fourth place and give whoever we come up against in the finals something to worry about.
Division 1 Women
Newtown Falcons vs Saints 3-1
A fantastic game from Falcons to maintain 3rd position on the ladder, with great teamwork, accurate passing and great leading to space. The defence was solid in every position with Emma P and Ainsley well supported by Penny and Bec W, limiting any major threats by Saints. Saints scored first with a nice chip shot into the goal but Falcons worked even harder to gain possession and move the ball quickly. Some lovely passes through space to the forward zone found Nicole running to pick up the ball and take full advantage of the speedy play. Great linking and overlapping by Tiahna, Elese and Jess W set up many forward moves and saw Newtown dominate the second half – no short corners to defend in the second half. Great work team!
Newtown Strikers vs Torquay 0-6
Another tough game for Strikers against second placed team Torquay but the effort of the players was fantastic right to the end of the game. The game began with Strikers matching it well with Torquay, and while under pressure the defence held their ground strongly with Meg, Sam and Kate gaining possession and sending the ball forward. Torquay began to build their attack as the game went on and Jenn in goals denied Torquay a score on many occasions.
Great running by Georgie, Eliza and Shannon R gave Newtown some forward thrust and Emma A put in some great efforts to confront and close down Torquay players with the ball. Julie played the centre well, looking for team mates to open the play and use the width of the field. Torquay’s skill and teamwork were hard to beat and eventually they won the day.
Division 2 Men
Newtown Spirit vs Golden Plains 3-1
A great effort by Spirit with the blend of youth and experience working well together to carry out the game plan.
Division 2 Women
Newtown Rebels vs Torquay 2-3
Menacing storm clouds unleashed their fury making conditions difficult during the first half. Rebels got away to an early lead with a great team goal which finally saw the back of the net from Nicola. Defence was again under attack from Torquay’s speedy forwards but Eichelle, Colleen and Tracey kept out lots of attacks. Torquay scored just prior to the whistle.
The second half saw Kellie move decisively along the wing to bring up play. Pam ‘Spot On’ Oliveiro was in all the right places at all the right times to play a central role in the game. Torquay scored another 2 quick goals before Shannon smashed a corner goal. A cold and wet game but very exciting. A big thank you to Shannon and Jacqui for filling in.