Hockey women best from A to B

By Riverine Herald

TWO for two.

Echuca, Moama and Kyabram are celebrating a massive performance from their hockey clubs as both the A and B women’s sides brought home GVHA premierships on Saturday.

And the A women had to go the hard way to get the job done and claim their first ever premiership.

After a fun relaxed warm up, 15 girls from EMHC took to the field in Shepparton to face off against minor premiers Mooroopna.

With a strong starting line-up the girls held composure, washing away any anxieties and adrenaline playing simple, smart hockey.

Despite Echuca’s great marking in defence, Mooroopna managed to find the net with a deflection.

The Echuca girls didn’t let this rattle them, keeping the pressure on with some fast attacking play.

Chloe Kell managed to sneak the ball past the Mooroopna goalkeeper and hit the backboard.

At half-time, the game was locked up at 1-1.

Coach Coral Gulson gave the girls positive half-time reassurance requesting conformed play, to make the ball do the work due to the heat and level of player fitness they were up against.

The girls headed back on to the field feeling positive and ready to capitalise on any opportunity.

Within two minutes captain Beau Starritt set the scene with an impressive goal.

Monique Schwedes managed to capitalise on the excitement and within another minute the River Rats were celebrating another goal.

Still with 30 minutes to go in the game there was a long way to glory.

Mooroopna showed their experience one by one levelling the score.

With eight minutes to go Mooroopna capitalised on a defensive turnover and made the score 3-4.

With massive support from the sidelines the girls rallied and found themselves with an attacking short corner. Tina Kerr came through with the goods and shot into the post and ultimately the goal, locking up the scores once more.

Chloe Kell held up Mooroopna’s play in any way possible, battered and bruised.

Sally Deed and Wendy Mcleod led the defence strongly to end regulation time 4-4.

The level scoreline put the team into eight-second penalty shootouts.

It was now down to the youth of the Rats and a level headed goalkeeper, Erin Thompson.

After winning the toss Echuca girls Abbey Mathers, Keeley Thompson, Courtney Thompson and Jorgie Wright showed confidence and skill to take on Mooroopna’s goalkeeper with spectacular success.

Erin Thompson starred in the goals, blocking three of Mooroopna’s penalty shots.

With overwhelming elation, the Echuca girls swarmed on their amazing goalkeeper as they took their first silverware in A women’s history.

The celebrations continued when the youngest player on the entire field, Keeley Thompson, was awarded Most Valuable Player.

■ ECHUCA Moama Kyabram B women took on Mooroopna in perfect conditions.

The two teams had been fairly matched during the season but thought the Rats had to fight hard for their position in the grand final they were also coming off two consecutive Premiership wins in past seasons, which made the outcome difficult to predict.

The game proved to be a tight battle of wills, with both teams equally determined.

Kyabram EMHC’s Meagan Whan was able to put the ball on to the back boards for Echuca — after a brilliant run into the attacking circle she shot out wide and it bypassed the goal keeper.

The teams went into half-time in a tight game at 1-0.

The concern coming into the second half was the ability to keep up with one of Mooroopna’s speedy forwards.

The Rats were able to continue in the second half with the running legs of Elyse Kerr, Fiona Owen and Jenna Park fuelling efforts to move the ball out of midfield.

The team had many attempts at penalty short corners but was unable to capitalise.

Mooroopna too had opportunities but the EMHC defence was able to scramble to prevent the opposition from levelling the scores.

Goalkeeper Ruth Mackenzie was put under pressure when Mooroopna was awarded a penalty stroke but was able to maintain composure and the score remained in the Rats’ favour.

The game played out with the defence putting in hard yards to keep up and hold strong; Narrelle Thomson, Ruth Goode and Erin Thompson outperforming the Mooroopna attack continually.

The game came to an end with the Kyabram Echuca Moama Hockey Club taking the premiership 1-0, giving the B women their third premiership in a row.

Celebrations continued at the annual Goulburn Valley Hockey Presentation that evening with EMHC A men’s Clayton Thompson being named the joint best and fairest winner for the 2018 A men GVHA competition and Courtney Thompson the highest goal scorer in the A women’s competition.

Great club success again for the Echuca Moama Hockey Club.

The club’s presentation will be held this coming Sunday when it will celebrate the season’s many successes at club, association and state level.