The 2021 hockey season is nearly halfway through, but COVID is still having some impact. After a week off due to the COVID shutdown, everyone was happy to see the junior teams back playing again. The matches had a bit of a ‘Country Footy’ atmosphere, with spectators watching from their cars in an attempt to reduce the COVID risks in the venue.
Under 8 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Geelong Jaguars
Newtown Spirit showed great focus on the ball, and gained possession many times with sticks on the ground and determination to make it hard for Geelong. Some great work in defending the goals by Heidi was echoed by good teamwork and great passing by Kyra, Nina and Mitchell in the midfield. Players calmly kept possession of the ball, making some nice spins in order to provide better options for disposal to team mates.
Lucas, Olivia and Immy were often in good position in space to allow strong passes to reach them, and were able to push the ball forward into our attacking area. Teamwork and marking of the opposition continues to improve each week of this hockey season.
Best Team Player Awards to Heidi and Kyra.
Newtown Strikers – Bye
Under 10 Mixed
Newtown Strikers vs Newtown Spirit 2-0
Everyone was happy to be back at the hockey pitch. We all missed hockey last week!
Although things were still a bit different, everyone was really motivated to play a great game. And that’s what everyone did. Especially in the second half, when everyone spread out a bit more. A real highlight was a great attack from Lucy and Summah playing together, so that Summah could score. Another great attack with both Eddie and Josien was almost perfect, but was unfortunately just missed.
Defending by Spirit was great, which made it hard for Strikers. Jake and Joseph showed they are both developing more skills every week, especially in defence. Great work and hopefully you can use the ‘man of the match’ voucher next week, after the long weekend! The score was 2-0 for Strikers in the end.
Newtown Spirit vs Newtown Strikers 0-2
The Newtown Spirit defence continues to work hard against all opposition teams, and this week was no exception. The three deep defenders, Patrick, Lilly and Olive worked well together, with Olive making a spectacular last line of defence save right on the goal line to deny what seemed a certain goal for Strikers. Strong passing by Patrick got the ball out of defence but a tendency to replay it to the middle of the field saw the pressure on the defence continue.
The midfield lineup of Will, Ved and Poppy worked super hard for the whole game, with all three stopping many Strikers forward moves before they reached the 25 yards area. Well considered moves and controlled play by Poppy on many occasions moved the ball forward for our attackers. Great positioning and running to support by Will was a highlight.
The determination of all the players was extremely pleasing with lots of effort and ‘never give up’ instances, especially from Hamish and Albie. With Ellie, Maia and Lucy in good position to help the ball move forward, we achieved a number of entries into the attacking 25 and some promising play in front of goals. Well done Spirit, and keep up the good work.
Best Team Player Awards to Will and Poppy.
Under 12 Mixed
Newtown Strikers vs Newtown Spirit 1-4
It was great to be back playing hockey after a week of lockdown and nice to have so many spectators – even if they were behind the fence! Strikers took a while to blow away the cobwebs after the week off but the first half started off fairly evenly balanced between the two teams, with both teams sharing possession and having some good attempts on goal. It was Spirit who broke the deadlock with two goals in the first half.
In the second half Strikers looked more lively and had some good shots on goal but couldn’t convert. Spirit made the most of their chances and increased their tally to four. Strikers were able to get one in the net before the end of the game. A few things for the team to work on for next week are getting to the ball first, positioning and working on our stronger side with the fore stick.
Newtown Spirit vs Strikers 4-1
After having a week off due to COVID, it was great to see the kids back out playing hockey, and such lovely weather. We had two U10 players helping Spirit today, Maia and Ved. Again, the U10’s held their positions well and provided some particularly good chase and tackling, holding up the Strikers forward thrusts.
The match was very evenly matched, both teams playing with 11 on the pitch, and no goalies. This provided some excitement at both ends of the ground from start to finish.
Oliver dropped back into defence providing us some good structure with Kashvi and Audrey, defending and then rebounding from the Strikers’ attacking plays. It was great to see the Spirit players start to figure out when to leave position to meet the ball first, and thwart the attacking run. Will again providing some great support both in attack and was a huge
presence in our defence again today.
Zac, Valentina and Michael providing some great link up play through the middle, using our wings Ivy and Matilda to move the ball around the Strikers defence, and bring us into attack. Zac and Matilda both finishing with a double, but the nice ball movement around the D, had multiple players involved in most of the Spirit scoring shots.
A really pleasing game, with Spirit really using the angles to good effect today, well done Spirit.
Let’s hope for spectators next game, mind you the cars around the field was probably a more comfortable way to watch a game on Pitch 2!
Under 14 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Golden Plains 2-2
It was great to be able to take to the field this week after a week of lockdown and the final score of 2-2 was reflective of the entertaining game between Newtown Spirit and Golden Plains.
Tilly scored both the goals for Newtown. The first was goal was scored after Tilly ran half of the field , and the second came from a great assist from Grace. Defenders worked hard in the first half and Surry and Kayla supported Mai as goalie in the second half to ensure that Golden Plains were unable to score again after two goals in the first half.
The ball spent more time in Newtown attacking positions in the second half, but solid defence from Golden Plains stopped any further goals being scored by Newtown and resulted in the drawn match. Great effort by everyone.
Newtown Strikers vs Torquay 0-5
It was great to see the kids back on the pitch, we are so lucky they got to play this weekend. Our Strikers were a little rusty as they had not played together for a few weeks, having a bye just before lockdown. They tried really hard but went down to a strong Torquay 5 – 0.
Elliott had a busy game in goals with 19 saves and some really great defensive slides, her commitment earning her Player’s Player. Leo also did a good job in defense, with a few awesome clearances. Chloe and Sienna had great positioning on the wings and were open and making spaces for their teammates. Ruby also had great positioning and tackled the players really
well. Good pressure by the whole team.
Thank you to Hockey Geelong for opening the car park to allow our cheer squad to safely watch on from the outside of Stead Park (great idea !!). Enjoy your long weekend 12-13 June, and we will be back in action on the 19th.
Player’s Player votes: Elliott, Adrian, Eion & Ruby
Under 17 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Kardinia White 1-2 (with a country footy focus!)
Following a mid-season merger, the new look Spirit outfit took to the field on a perfect winter’s day against rivals Kardinia. The selection committee headed by Ashley Quick had done an excellent job to select a very strong squad on Thursday night that just scraped in under the salary cap. Oliver was a late withdrawal due to illness, replaced by the medical sub Tom, and when Nick finally arrived after a wardrobe malfunction (forgot his shoes), we went in with 5 on the bench.
The messages to the playing group were clear; to always give the ball carrier 3 options, one moving up forward, one square and one back, and to switch play as they’d practised. We dominated possession in the first half, controlling play by being first to the ball and generating lots of forward 50 entries. We had some dashing runs from Luca, Harry S, and Harley, but unfortunately our disposal efficiency inside 50 let us down, and we allowed too many easy interceptions. The halves and backline held their structure, easily winning the tackle count, and
pleasingly goalkeeper Mai went into half time without a kick to her name.
The second half was a game of contested possessions. With close marking from Kardinia our passing game was shut down and we ran the ball more, sometimes holding on too long. Sam S showed great skills to wheel and go out of the backline, and Harry S was at risk of plastic poisoning as he racked up possessions at inner and took a few bounces controlling aerial balls. We did attempt a toss, and later earned a penalty corner, but both went down as clangers. In all it was a very close game that both coaches agreed could have gone either way. We look forward to success as the players settle into a new line-up and high rotations, develop our back half spread, and improve our gut running off the ball to create more uncontested possessions.
Senior Men and Women
There was no senior competition this week due to COVID regulations but we hope that matches will resume for the next round on June 19/20, heading into the second half of the 2021 hockey season and the path to the finals.