by Michael van Dorsser
On an overcast day at the State Netball and Hockey Centre, saw HC Melbourne hosting Adelaide Fire in wet conditions. First it was the men narrowly beating Adelaide followed by the women with a buzzer shot to lead into a shootout.
In the opening minutes HC Melbourne‘s men started on the front foot with a penalty corner which was cleaned up by Nathan Ephraums to open the account.
There was then a period of play where HC Melbourne were able to control the play against Adelaide’s run. Until Japanese import, Watenabe Kota, got on the end of a great move around the open side of play to put a field goal and subsequent conversion in the 9th minute.
That first term was an arm wrestle until the last few seconds of the quarter when a penalty corner was awarded to Adelaide just on the siren. Cameron Joyce stepped up, and Durst’s goal again was breached for Adelaide to go up 3-1 after the first 15 minutes.
Second quarter saw no goals as both sides found ways of turning the ball over to each other through midfield. The Fire started to push the HC Melbourne defence; however, it was resolute, and Half Time saw the same score line.
The game opened up in the third quarter with the players from both sides attacking through the middle of the ground. Kleinschmidt found himself in the right spot once again. On the end of a great build up and was able to go on the reverse stick and found a way past the Edward Chittleborough into the goal and fired the subsequent conversion.
Russell Ford and Simmonds also found their way on the scoresheet to finish a five goal third quarter that burst the game wide open.
The fourth quarter saw the a couple of opportunities for Adelaide to draw even and then go ahead through field goals to Cameron Joyce, however Durst stood up strong in the net for HC Melbourne to keep the score line at 6-5 and a win to head into the finals series with NSW Pride next week. Adelaide tried hard all game and they finish the inaugural season without a win.
It was then on to the women. Adelaide held their nerve and got the 3-point win in a shootout after Krissy Bates drew HC Melbourne level with .1 of a second left on the clock.
The game came alive in the final quarter with both sides going all out to win a game that was the last match of the inaugural Sultana Bran Hockey One League Home and Away Series.
Locked at nil-all for the first 53 minutes, Adelaide drew first blood through the agency of Karri McMahon of a Penalty Corner and from there the HC Melbourne girls lifted a gear.
In a desperate attempt to keep their undefeated season alive, the HC Melbourne coaching staff removed Hockeyroo Goalkeeper, Rachel Lynch, and in the dying moments of the game. Rightly so, it paid dividends with Bates scoring in the last possible moment.
After the umpires consulted the goal stood and Bates had the opportunity to win the match after the siren with a one-on-one shot with Ashlee Wells.
Wells kept her composure to swat the ball away and force a penalty shootout, the first in Melbourne this year.
All in all, it was Adelaide’s strikers were able to find a gap in the defence of Lynch and with Wells doing all she could at her time, Adelaide were able to take the 3 points away from Melbourne and finish in third on the ladder, and will travel to Brisbane for week one of the finals.
HC Melbourne can regroup and get ready to host Canberra next weekend in what promises to be a fierce game of hockey. Ticketing details to follow.
Men’s Match Details:
HC Melbourne 6 (Ephraums 2’, Kleinschmidt 33’/33’, Ford 37’/37’, Simmonds 45’)
Adelaide Fire 5 (Kota 9’/9’, Joyce 15’/42’/52’)
Women’s Match Details:
Hockey Club Melbourne 1 (3) (Bates 60’)
Adelaide Fire 1 (4) (McMahon 53’)
Sunday 3 November 2019
State Netball & Hockey Centre (Vic)