Horsham was the place to be last Saturday, when the Wimmera Hockey Association’s matches converged on the racecourse for an exciting action packed day. It was close matches on the menu as spectators were treated to some very exciting and skilful play.
The women’s competition saw the Nhill Thunderbirds and Dimboola fight out it out to the end. Nhill started well in the first half but were unable to convert, despite a close shot just skimming the back line. In the second half, Dimboola attacked really well and had many close shots through inners Jess Ross and Naomi Kuhnell. However, the Nhill defence of Alannah Creek and Pam Cramer were solid and Dimboola were unable to penetrate. The game ended in a fitting nil-all draw, showing that the women’s competition is really wide open this year and no teams are safe for the finals yet.
The Warracknabeal Hoops won an important match to overcome the previously undefeated Yanac Tigers side in the men’s competition. Yanac missed shots early but the Warracknabeal defence, through Steven Laverty, held strong and they were rewarded with a goal before half time. The game was even in the second half, with forwards Paul Slater and Shane Langman attacking well for Warracknabeal and Luke Reichenbach and Josh Cramer scoring for the Tigers.
In the junior competition, young side Yanac Warriors put on a great performance to draw with Warracknabeal Revengers. Yanac have not won a game yet, but were firing on Saturday. Erin Blackwood and Jess Wheaton were standout defenders for the Warriors, whilst on the other side, Nakita Langman and Edward Aitken stood strong for Warracknabeal. Alex Wheaton set up many shots for the Warriors and Ethan Schilling attacked well for the Revengers. Warracknabeal will be disappointed not to beat the Warriors and will now have to start improving for any hope of making the finals.
Top side and undefeated Leopards were challenged by Kaniva Raiders in the junior competition, with Kaniva showing that they are a real finals chance this year. After a slow start to the game, Nhill’s half back line started to fire through Tom Cook. Oscar Stephan scored two quick opportunistic goals to put Nhill on the front foot. Strong work by Kaniva’s half backs Claire McDonald and Liam Wallis kept the scoring to a minimum. Kaniva came out firing in the second half to upset the flow of Nhill’s game. Kendall Meyer scored a well hit goal, but at the end of the game, Leopards had once again prevailed, to keep their winning streak going.
In a best on ground performance, Kayjay Florinell scored twice in the Kookaburras 4-2 defeat of Horsham’s Black Hawks. Black Hawks defenders Sean Creek and Elly O’Connor were solid in defence and Andrew Valentine and youngster Claire Barnett were the scorers for the Black Hawks. Cara Elsom and Bethaney Terry were key defenders for the Kookaburras.
In an upset, Horsham Highlanders scored only their second win for the season, over the talented Kaniva women’s side. Ellie Morrow was the sole scorer for the Highlanders and teammate Kate Ferrier put on a best on ground performance. Nicol Wilson was the best for Kaniva, whilst junior Roey Sanders played a mature game. Kaniva will be disappointed not to win this game and will be looking to regroup after two losses in a row.
Other matches saw the Horsham Hurricanes defeat the Kaniva men 2-0, Yanac women just prevail over Warracknabeal and the Kangaroos trounce the Bombers 8-0.