By Adam Clifford
A Jocelyn Bartram penalty shootout masterclass has guided NSW Pride to their maiden Sultana Bran Hockey One League women’s title in a captivating final against defending champions Brisbane Blaze in Bendigo.
After scores were locked 2-2 at the end of regular time, the Hockeyroos goalkeeper demonstrated her brilliance with two clutch saves to enable teammate Greta Hayes to seal a 3-1 shootout victory.
After a tense opening quarter, an Abby Wilson tomahawk goal in the 22nd minute put the Pride 1-0 up, with Blaze goalkeeper Jordan Bliss saving the ensuring conversion opportunity.
The Blaze responded emphatically with Savannah Fitzpatrick slapping home and duly completing the conversion chance to put the 2019 champions 2-1 up at the main break.
Hockey One League leading scorer Grace Stewart’s diving deflection moments into the second half set up an exhilarating finish in a free-flowing affair.
Seconds before the final whistle, rising star Grace Young almost achieved the unthinkable with a diving forestick effort that sailed inches wide to ensure the match went to a shootout.
From there, Bartram asserted herself to deny the opening Blaze trio of Claire Colwill, Rosie Malone and Hannah Cullum-Sanders as teammates Mariah Williams and Stewart pushed the Pride 2-0 up.
Fitzpatrick would score at the second time of asking to set the scene for Hayes to crown herself in glory.
“Any time you take on Brisbane is always hard fought…just like State of Origin,” said a jubilant Wilson post match.
“There is a really big rivalry and the Blaze were coming off winning the inaugural season. We stuck it out and it was a really gutsy effort from the girls.
“I close my eyes when the girls take the shootouts…my stomach doesn’t really handle it. We were practising one on ones over the course of the season and they weren’t going too well but it came to us at the right time.
“For us there was a sense of redemption after a disappointing first season. We were the underdogs and this feels like a proving point that when you play really a good team game that is what is going to get you through.”
“We are the Pride and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s efforts and how we came together to achieve this.”
NSW Pride 2 (Wilson 24’, Stewart 33’)
Brisbane Blaze 2 (Fitzpatrick 27’/27’)
NSW Pride won shootout 3-1
Umpires: Aleisha Neumann & Kristy Robertson
NSW Pride Women’s Team: 1.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 2.Sarah Johnson, 3.Hannah Kable, 4.Kendalle Tait, 6.Estelle Hughes, 7.Grace Stewart, 8.Alana Kavanagh, 10.Greta Hayes, 19.Morgan Blamey, 20.Maddi Smith, 23.Abigail Wilson (c), 24.Mariah Williams, 29.Courtney Schonell, 30.Makayla Jones, 32.Grace Young
Brisbane Blaze Women’s Team: 1.Savannah Fitzpatrick, 2.Ambrosia Malone, 3.Casey Dolkens, 4.Ashlea Fey, 5.Morgan Gallagher (c), 7.Hannah Cullum-Sanders, 12.Tatum Stewart, 13.Rebecca Greiner, 14.Meg Pearce, 19.Morgan Mathison, 22.Britt Wilkinson, 23.Ruby Harris, 24.Claire Colwill, 25.Kyra Livermore, 88.Jordan Bliss (gk)