The 2022 hockey season has finished on a high for Newtown City Hockey Club. With 8 teams participating in the Geelong Hockey Association finals series, it was fantastic to see 4 teams make it through to the Grand Final. And it was even better to see the Grand Final day finish with 2 Premierships and 2 Runners Up. This added to the Premier and Runner Up finishes in the Under 10 competition, which does not play finals.
Under 12 Mixed
Newtown Strikers vs Geelong Jaguars 0-1
Congratulations to Under 12 Newtown Strikers on a very successful season and making it to the grand final. Having beaten Geelong Jaguars in the semi-final two weeks earlier, Strikers met the Jaguars again in the Grand Final for another nail-biting close game. The whole team rose to the occasion and played a great game.
Thanks to Ruby and Ved from U12 Spirit, as well as Eva and Chelsea from U10 Strikers for being part of the grand final team. Ruby did especially well, stepping in to the goal keeper role with James away. The coaching from James at training was helpful, with Ruby confidently saving a number of goals. Another stand out was Audrey’s skilful trapping of many well directed and powerful passes from Will.
Jaguars scored a goal in the first half, and in the second half Strikers thought they had levelled the score for a moment when Will hit the ball like a rocket from a short corner, but the goal was disallowed as it was too high.
An excellent finish to the year for the team.
Under 14 Mixed
Newtown Rebels vs Torquay 0-1
This was a terrific achievement for Newtown Rebels who, midway through the season, looked an unlikely prospect to make the finals. Hampered by lack of players on many occasions, the team was well supported by players from the other Newtown U14 teams and when it came down to the wire were able to get the results which saw them come from 4th position on the ladder to win the Semi-Final and Preliminary Final and earn the right to play in the Grand Final.
Great teamwork combined with good ball control skills and effective passing was a highlight of the finals games. Congratulations to the team and all the players on the massive effort and commitment which earned the reward, finishing as Runners Up for the 2022 season.
Under 17 Mixed
Newtown Strikers vs Kardinia 3-2
Strikers met Kardinia in the U17 grand final, with a head-to-head record during the season of 1 all. Kardinia, as anticipated, came out strong gaining a short corner only 2 minutes after the whistle. Strikers struggled initially to find a way forward until 4 minutes in when Charlotte generated a short corner. It was defended well by Kardinia. Our defenders, anchored by Basyl, kept the Kardinia strikers at bay. Mid-way through the half the deadlock was broken when Charlotte found Harry B in position, and he made no mistake to take the score to 1-nil. Kardinia came straight back at us and produced some great hockey that penetrated our defence and opened up our D for their first real shot on goal. The shot was a certain goal but was casually flicked aside by Mai. Charlotte continued her great work and generated another short with 10 minutes left in the half. Our midfielders lifted and Peri and Scarlett did a great job drawing their Kardinia players wide. This opened up centre forward and with 7 minutes left Harry B got possession at the top of the D, dribbled to the left and unleashed a Toma (below shoulder height of course) to land our second goal. 2-0. Charlotte managed another short corner with 30 seconds left but scores went to half time unchanged.
Coach Niko was extremely proud at half time with both the effort and the manner with which we played the first half. The second half started in a similar fashion to the first. Kardinia drew a short corner less than a minute in. Basyl continued to be the backbone of our defence, but all defend well. Kardinia persisted and broke through with their first goal mid-way through the half. 2-1. Strikers regrouped and short corners came our way through nice work by both Charlotte and Harry W. We failed to score from either and the momentum shifted back to Kardinia. They managed a short corner with a little over 6 minutes left and then another with 1 minute remaining that resulted in a goal that sent us to extra time at 2-all.
The initiative on the opening whistle was again taken by Kardinia when they managed a short corner only 30 seconds in. Mai, with a brilliant save, kept us in the match. With 3 ½ minutes left on the clock Charlotte managed yet another short corner; her sixth. This one proved to be her most valuable when Harry B took the shot after we were awarded a penalty stroke. He made no mistake and was in the air before the ball hit the net. Final score 3-2.
Congratulations to Strikers on a great win. It was a great team effort and well earned by all. A few things worthy of a mention: Well done to Harry B on topping the goal scoring with 62 for the season; Great courage shown by Amber coming back on in extra time after copping a front on tackle in the second half; and Tilly who undertook a thankless job on the day, tagging Kardinia’s top scorer who scored goals in every game he had played for the season … except the grand final.
Finally, a big thanks to Niko who brought such energy and emotion to the game. I’m sure some of this rubbed off on the team to get us over the line.
Division 2 Men
Newtown falcons vs Torquay Tornadoes 7-6
The Grand final saw Falcons clash with Torquay Tornados. The teams had met 3 times during the season with one win each and a draw. Play began with intensity, both teams trying to gain the ascendancy early, with 3 short corners in the first 5 minutes. Possession was shared very evenly but Torquay started to display more aggression up forward and that swung the momentum their way. Mitch was giving us a good target early deep in offense, but we struggled with structure in mid pitch to give us the momentum to penetrate the
Torquay defence. Torquay’s aggression up forward was rewarded around the half-way mark with a short corner. We scrambled to clear the first, then a second, but a deflection on the third gave Torquay a 1 nil lead. Loose passing and trapping gave Torquay some easy possessions, but we started to sharpen this up toward the end of the quarter; a short with 6 minutes left giving us a confidence boost.
Quarter 2 was a stalemate. Falcons kept the pressure on early with 2 short corners in quick succession. Dom was busy in centre pitch and Basyl, Harry W and AJ combined in some desperate presses forward looking to find holes in the Torquay defence. Pete struck a beautiful ball that was just wide of the mark from a short corner with 7 minutes left. Harry W earned another short corner but again, we failed to convert. We ended the half 1-nil down but holding ground and threatening to score.
Torquay jumped us from the shadows immediately after the 3 rd quarter whistle. The sound of the ball cracking against the backboard with less than a minute passed saw them take their lead to 2-nil. Almost immediately, they followed up with a third from a loose striker at the top of the D. The score went to 3-nil. Shoulders dropped and Falcons body language had Newtown supporters worried that they were ready to capitulate. Those fears were allayed when Carl gained possession mid pitch and calmly weaved around numerous Torquay defenders. ‘Silky’ was the term put forward by a keen young observer in the crowd. He threaded the ball to Harry W who drew a short corner. The corner resulted in a stroke for Falcons and Basyl drilled it to get us on the board at 1-3. This seemed to ignite something in the Falcons, visibly lifting energy levels and for the rest of the quarter there seemed to be 3 Basyl’s on the pitch.
The 4 th quarter saw Falcons refocus on the basics, defending well and passing cleanly. Carl, with great support from Basyl and Liam started to make his presence felt transitioning from defence to offence forcing one short, then a second. A third short saw Carl send one home to take the score to 2-3. Our defenders started pressing higher with confidence as Torquay found it harder to find a way through mid-pitch. This nearly came unstuck when Torquay made a fast break that saw Jarret and Carl scrambling to assist a lone Martin facing a running Torquay striker. Only minutes after this scare, a pass from Carl found a perfectly positioned Mitch in the D who made no mistake to send us to 3-all and extra time.
Extra time began nervously by Falcons and Torquay managed a short corner only 2 ½ minutes in. A sharp shot that threatened to end the match was rejected by Martin and resulted in a collective sigh of relief from the Newtown supporters. Torquay heightened tensions again when they won a another short with 30 seconds left. No score, 3-all.
The second half of extra time saw a change in momentum from Torquay to Falcons that mirrored the course of the match in normal time. 2 Newtown short corners, 2 good shots both deflected by the Torquay goalie. Falcons then, led by Basyl and Carl, threw everything at Torquay resulting in a barrage of short corners in the closing minutes. Sigh after sigh from Newtown supporters ended with the whistle; scores still deadlocked at 3-all.
A tense penalty shoot-out featured 2 great saves by Martin who didn’t overcommit and was calm (at least it appeared that way). Our goals included Mitch doing a 180-degree spin to beat Torquay’s keeper. Carl (after having to be arm-twisted to take one of the shots) had his first shot rejected by the Torquay goalie, then scooped the next attempt neatly overhead to keep our nose in front. The final hurdle to cement the win was left to Basyl, and he wrongfooted the keeper to win the shoot-out and the premiership.
Congratulations to both teams on what was a great grand final, thrilling to watch and played in great spirit. For Falcons, although some players featured more than others, the whole team came together to stage what was an amazing comeback from 3-nil down. Well done.
Congratulations to Basyl on winning Player of the Grand Final. Congratulations to Carl on his joint winning of the D2 men’s Best and Fairest for 2022. Of note also, was that for the grand final match Falcons had the youngest player on the pitch by some measure in Liam, and the oldest player by an undisclosed measure in Ian.
Thank you to everyone who played during the season and contributed to this premiership. Thank you to everyone (umpires, team managers, facility managers, etc) who worked behind the scenes to enable us to play each week. Thanks also for the support from the sidelines.
It will be great to catchup at presentation night and reminisce about our come from behind victory. The legend of the Falcons comeback from 3-0 down to win the 2022 Premiership will surely grow over the years.”