HC Melbourne has kick started its JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season in ideal fashion after the women’s and men’s teams both recorded first up away victories over the Tassie Tigers in Hobart tonight.
A 4th minute Joanne Peeters drag flick was enough for the Victorians to edge past the home side 1-0 in the women’s match, while the HC Melbourne Men prevailed 4-1.
Incredibly, HC Melbourne Women had 13 penalty corners to nil in the game but Tassie Tigers goalkeeper Evie Dalton had a game for the ages, continually repelling wave after wave of attacks.
The home side were not without their chances as their defensive resolve kept them in the contest. However, last year’s minor premiers were not going to be denied maximum points to open their season.
“We had a lot of opportunities up front and a lot of penalty corners so we’ll go back and work on that during the week,” said Player of the Match and HC captain Hannah Gravenall.
“It was a tough grind tonight. Credit to Tassie, they defended really well and their keeper was superb so it was good to get the win.”
“It was a good first hit out and great to be back out there.”
In the men’s match, both sides fielded a host of new faces as they looked to make positive start to their campaigns after missing last year’s finals.
After a typically hectic opening, HC Melbourne struck with their first penalty corner of the match on the stroke of quarter time, Cooper Burns’ tracer bullet smashing into the backboard.
The second quarter saw Tassie unsuccessful from three penalty corner attempts in quick succession, largely courtesy to the brave and fearless first defender running out of Frazer Gerrard.
It proved a crucial point of the match as HC Melbourne captain Damon Steffens then repeated the script from the first quarter to convert a drag flick in the final seconds of the half to double the lead.
The margin was extended to three in the 41st minute when Steffens stepped up again with another lethal drag flick from a well worked penalty corner routine.
Staring down the barrel, Tassie threw everything at HC Melbourne in the last quarter and in the 55th minute they were awarded a penalty stroke.
Jeremy Hayward beat Kookaburras teammate Johan Durst from the penalty spot. Then Jack Welch stepped up for the added conversion opportunity to cut the margin further but Durst kept him out.
Tassie continued to surge forward with long searching balls into the attacking circle but a moment of Burns brilliance snuffed out any chance of a comeback as he produced a reverse tomahawk that Nathan Ephraums expertly glanced home.
Tassie goalkeeper Max Larkin did well to save from Ephraums’ ensuing conversion attempt at a double goal but it would count for little as HC Melbourne secured a 4-1 victory.
“It was awesome to get the win. To come out here and start the campaign off on the right foot. Last year we were a bit slow starting so we are stoked to come away with a win,” said Player of the Match and HC Melbourne captain Damon Steffens.
HC Melbourne host Adelaide Fire in Round 2 on Friday night, while Tassie travel to the nation’s capital to take on the Canberra Chill on Sunday 15 October.
Every match of the JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season is LIVE and free on 7plus.
Match Details – Women’s Match
Tassie Tigers 0
HC Melbourne 1 (Peeters 4’)
Friday 6 October 2023
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Tassie Tigers Women’s team: 2.Jemma Kenworthy, 3.Lucy Millington, 4.Maddison Brooks, 5.Taylor Brooks, 9.Emily Donovan, 11.Isabelle Sharman, 12.Louise Maddock, 13.Phillida Bridley (c), 15.Lucy Cooper, 16.Maddison Clark, 17.Kathryn Lane, 20.Beth Dobbie, 21.Lauren Canning, 25.Evie Dalton (gk), 28.Pipi Martos
HC Melbourne Women’s team: 1.Bridget Laurance (gk), 2.Aisling Utri, 3.Nicola Hammond, 5.Krissy Bates, 6.Josie Lawton, 7.Ciara Utri, 11.Joanne Peeters, 12.Emily Hamilton-Smith, 13.Megan Alakus, 14.Laura Barden, 15.Olivia Downes, 20.Zali Ward, 22.Charlotte Hodgson, 23.Samantha Snow, 25.Hannah Gravenall (c)
Match Details – Men’s Match
Tassie Tigers 1 (Hayward 55’)
HC Melbourne 4 (Burns 15’, Steffens 30+/41’, Ephraums 57’)
Friday 6 October 2023
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Tassie Tigers Men’s team: 2.Tyler McDonald, 3.Alex Shaw, 6.Josh Brooks, 7.Josh Mardell, 9.Jeremy Edwards (c), 10.Ruben Hoey, 12.Sam McCulloch, 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
HC Melbourne Men’s team: 1.Craig Marais, 2.Frazer Gerrard, 4.Liam Henderson, 5.Douglas Buckley, 6.Damon Steffens (c), 7.Nathan Ephraums, 8.Lachlan Steinfort, 9.Nathan Copey, 10.Brad Marais, 11.Cooper Burns, 11.Cooper Burns, 12.Connar Otterbach, 13.Jayshaan Randhawa, 15.Josh Simmonds, 18.Johan Durst (gk), 22.Ben White