Adelaide Fire Men have kept themselves in finals contention with a stellar 3-1 win over the Tassie Tigers, before the Fire Women ensured they would finish the JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season above their Tasmanian counterparts thanks to a come from behind 2-1 victory in Hobart tonight.
The men’s result was Adelaide Fire’s second win of the season and catapulted them into the top four. Meanwhile for Tassie, who have the bye in the final round, they must wait on other results to see if they will feature in the Finals Main Event on 25/26 November in Canberra.
In a pivotal match for both men’s teams, the hosts had a dream start when Jeremy Hayward struck in the 7th minute with a drag flick that had too much on it for Adelaide Fire goalkeeper Jed Snowden.
The goal was reward for effort for Tassie who dominated early on, although they could not add to their lead with three further penalty corners in the opening quarter.
The second quarter belonged to the Adelaide Fire and they produced an emphatic response when Hugh Snowden scored with aplomb from a tight angle, sending his tomahawk through the legs of Burras goalkeeper Max Larkin.
When Snowden was brought down by Larkin during the resultant conversion opportunity, the umpire awarded a penalty stroke which Fraser Heigh cooly put away to put the visitors in front.
The Tigers had another three penalty corner opportunities in the third quarter with Kookaburra Jack Welch in the thick of the action, however they could not make them count on the scoreboard.
Jed Snowden was in the zone, pulling off a fine reflex save to keep out a Jeremy Hayward missile as the Fire was holding on by a thread.
Just when it seemed the Tigers were on the verge of an equaliser, a telling point of the match came in the 41st minute when Hugh Snowden was sandwiched my Larkin and Hayward as he received a long aerial ball, the umpire signalling for a penalty stroke.
Heigh stepped up to again beat Larkin from the spot to make it 3-1 to the Fire, Larkin then denying Snowden the conversion to keep the margin at two.
Jed Snowden denied Hayden Beltz a rare goal as Tassie went for the jugular in the last quarter. However, the Fire almost stung them again when Peter Scott went on a darting run into the circle, firing a shot on the reverse that was saved by Larkin before Heigh’s effort on the rebound was blocked.
Larkin was removed with two minutes to go and Tim Deavin blazed a desperate effort over the target.
But as much as Tassie tried, some masterful last ditch defending from the Fire saw the South Australians record their second win of the season and leave the finals race full of intrigue.
“It’s pretty incredible…it has been a tough couple of seasons but we have brought in some guys from around the country which has been challenging…but the coaching staff have really pushed us along so it has been good,” said Adelaide Fire captain Fred Gray.
“We’ve got some exciting strikers who like to run and we just want to feed them as much as we can.”
For Player of the Match Jed Snowden, the result was just as satisfying.
“It was getting pretty stressful (at the end) but I had faith in all the boys to do their part and do my part as well, so I was very happy how it turned out,” said Snowden.
“I’m pretty happy with how I’m going at the moment. I don’t want to look too far ahead, just keep it simple and finish the year off strong.”
The women’s match featured two largely youthful teams searching for their first win of the season and looking to avoid the wooden spoon.
Jillaroos squad member Lucy Sharman flashed a drag flick just wide in the 2nd minute for the Adelaide Fire in an early warning shot in a first half that proved a seesawing contest.
Something had to give and it eventually did in the 28th minute when a Lucy Millington drag flick saw the ball come off Fire goalkeeper Amy Hammond onto the post and across the goal line to give the hosts the lead at half time.
However, the advantage only lasted for five minutes into the third quarter as Adelaide Fire scored an classy team goal.
Chloe Carter split the Tassie defence with a pass down the channel to Brooke Peris in a dangerous position and the Hockeyroo laid it on a platter for Miki Spano who could not miss.
Spano was prevented the ensuing conversion by Tigers goalkeeper Camila Vaughan to leave it all square and set up an entertaining finish.
A stunning stick save from Vaughan kept out a Linzi Appleyard drag flick, before Peris created something out of nothing to narrowly miss putting the visitors in front.
Adelaide went close again five minutes into the last quarter, then from the resultant penalty corner they did hit the front.
Hattie Shand hammered a bobbling ball from just inside the circle that Vaughan could not fully deal with and Anna Crowley was positioned perfectly to knock home her first goal of the season.
Millington sent a drag flick just wide in Tassie’s best late chance but it was the Adelaide Fire who would take the points home.
“It was a really competitive match. We’ve been fighting all season for a win and have been putting in some good performances, so it’s great to finally break through tonight,” said Shand, who was named Player of the Match.
“I had a quieter first few games but I love being more attacking up the sidelines and putting in those penetrating passes to the girls…so it was good fun out there.”
Every match of the JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season is LIVE and free on 7plus.
Match Details – Men’s Match
Tassie Tigers 1 (Hayward 7’)
Adelaide Fire 3 (H.Snowden 22’, Heigh 23’/41’)
Saturday 11 November 2023
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Tassie Tigers Men’s team: 4.Hayden Beltz, 5.Ewan Vickery, 6.Josh Brooks, 7.Josh Mardell, 9.Jeremy Edwards, 12.Sam McCulloch, 13.Josh Beltz (c), 14.Jack Welch, 19.Tim Deavin, 20.Ehren Hazell, 25.Max Larkin (gk), 27.Gobindraj Gill, 28.Lachlan Rogers, 30.Alistair White, 32.Jeremy Hayward
Adelaide Fire Men’s team: 1.Kieran Govers, 2.Connor Richmond-Spouse, 3.Lucas Toonen, 4.Jack Holland, 6.Matthew Magann, 7.Peter Scott, 9.Fred Gray (c), 10.Lachlan Arneil, 11.Kyton Rayner, 12.Mitchell Dell, 13.Alastair Oliver, 14.Fraser Heigh, 16.Hugh Snowden, 17.Charl Ulrich, 21.Jed Snowden (gk)
Match Details – Women’s Match
Tassie Tigers 1 (Millington 28’)
Adelaide Fire 2 (Spano 35’, Crowley 50’)
Saturday 11 November 2023
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Tassie Tigers Women’s team: 1.Sarah McCambridge (c), 2.Jemma Kenworthy, 3.Lucy Millington, 4.Maddison Brooks, 5.Taylor Brooks, 7.Jade Smith, 9.Emily Donovan, 13.Phillida Bridley, 15.Lucy Cooper, 16.Madison Clark, 17.Kathryn Lane, 20.Beth Dobbie, 21.Lauren Canning, 23.Camila Vaughan (gk), 29.Belen D’Esposito
Adelaide Fire Women’s team: 1.Chloe Carter, 2.Brittany Wang, 4.Chloe Holland, 5.Holly Evans-Gill, 6.Euleena Maclachlan (c), 8.Miki Spano, 11.Lucy Sharman, 13.Hattie Shand, 15.Brooke Peris, 17.Katie Sharkey, 18.Anna Crowley, 21.Amy Hammond (gk), 25.Jane Claxton, 26.Linzi Appleyard, 27.Gabriella Mitreska