By Caleb Scanlon
HC Melbourne continued their unbeaten streak with a commanding 5-2 victory over Tasmania Tigers in the Women’s Sultana Bran HockeyOne.
Sitting on 25 out of a possible 25 points, HC Melbourne sealed the minor premiership with a round remaining.
Warrnambool striker Madi Ratcliffe scored 2 goals to jump to the top of the league’s goal scoring tally with 6. Ratcliffe joins Adelaide Fire’s Mikki Spanno and NSW Pride’s Abigail Wilson on 6 as well.
Hannah Gravenall opened the scoring for HC Melbourne with a field goal, followed by a quick conversation. Laura Desmet scored shortly after half time, with the assist coming from Ratcliffe.
A field goal and conversion to Molly Haas set up an exciting final 10 minutes, before Ratcliffe scored two field goals to ensure the ladder-leaders walked away victorious.
It was a heartbreaking finish for HC Melbourne in the men’s, as a last-minute double from captain Eddie Ockenden clinched Tassie Tigers the win.
Tassie Tigers came back from 1-5 down in the third quarter to win 6-5 and secure themselves a semi-final in two weeks. HC Melbourne must beat the winless Adelaide Fire next Sunday to confirm their spot in the finals.\
Nathan Ephraums opened the scoring with a quick tomahawk in the first quarter. Midfielder Will Gilmour clashed heads with teammate Max Hendry and spent an extended period of time on the bench.
Tassie Tigers equalised early in the second half, before Josh Simmonds scored and converted from the penalty spot to give Melbourne a 3-1 lead. On the stroke of half time, Melbourne were awarded another penalty stroke which was score by Simmonds for his third.
The third quarter began with a fierce drag flick from Simmonds to net his fourth goal and a 5-1 lead to Melbourne. A yellow card to Aaron Kleinschmidt gave Tassie a numerical advantage, who scored through Sam McCambridge and Jeremy Hayward. The Melbourne interchange were reduced to one with Gilmour and Kleinschmidt unable to come on.
At 3-quarter time, the scores were 3-5 and a HC Melbourne victory looked imminent. Enter Tigers’ captain Ockenden, who scored three final quarter goals – two in the final minute – to secure a semi-final.
Next Sunday, HC Melbourne take on Adelaide Fire at the State Netball and Hockey Centre. For tickets, please visit: https://premier.ticketek.com.au/Shows/Show.aspx?sh=HOCKEY119
Men’s Match Details:
HC Melbourne 5 (Ephraums 14’, Simmonds 23’/23’/30’/33’)
Tassie Tigers 6 (McCambridge 21’/43’, Hayward 43’, Ockenden 46’/59’/59’)
Women’s Match Details:
Hockey Club Melbourne 5 (Gravenall 7’/7’, Desmet 33’, Ratcliffe 55’/60’)
Tassie Tigers 2 (Haas 51’/51’)
Sunday 27 October 2019
Tasmania Hockey Centre (TAS)