By Adam Clifford
NSW Pride Women and Tassie Tigers Men have recorded crucial wins in tonight’s Sultana Bran Hockey One League double header in Hobart.
The indications were all there that there is something special brewing amongst the NSW Pride squad as they swept aside the Tassie Tigers 5-0 in a slick all-round performance.
Led by defensive midfielder Grace Young and Hockeyroos star Mariah Williams, the Pride produced the sort of dominant performance that will make their Sultana Bran Hockey One League opponents sit up and take notice.
Tassie were brave, despite losing central defensive pairing Jillian Wolgemuth and Eliza Westland, with Cassie Sumfest deputising with aplomb and goalkeeper Evie Dalton again putting her hand up for more national honours.
The Tigers earned the first two shots on goal but couldn’t breach the defences of Hockeyroos shot stopper Jocelyn Bartram, before Tigers youngster Lucy Cooper suffered a nasty head injury after copping some friendly fire.
Abby Wilson looked lively, with her early rebound shot for the Pride striking the outside of the post in just the fourth minute.
The Tigers almost snuck an early advantage when Sumfest’s reverse stick strike was very nearly turned in by Pride defender Emma Spinks.
But the opener would eventually fall to the visitors, with Wilson’s low penalty corner flick in the 22nd minute evading everyone.
Early in the second half, Makayla Jones had a brilliant effort denied by Dalton, only for Alice Arnott to knock home and make it 2-0 with a full stretched dive, but then failed to convert.
A goalmouth scramble in the shadows of half-time from Tassie somehow saw three gilt-edged chances fail to cross the goal line.
But the dam wall burst for the Tigers brave defensive group when Morgan Blamey scored in the 40th minute and Jones converted a beautiful field goal deflection to make it 5-0.
An end-to-end final term would ultimately end without further troubling the scoreboard, as the Pride claimed the circle entry count 24 to 16 at the final whistle to cap an entertaining affair.
“It felt really, really good out there and it’s good to cement our spot in the top four,” Young said post-game.
“We’re trying to really build with every game, and we learned a lot from last week (a loss to Brisbane Blaze) and we’re looking to build from there with a great team effort.”
“It was a slow start, but to end the game with that amount of goals was really good.”
The NSW Pride now host fellow title rivals the Canberra Chill in Parkes in the final regular season match on Saturday afternoon.
“Canberra Chill are a really great team. It’s definitely not going to be an easy one and I think we just need to take our learnings from here and build from that,” Young added.
The Tigers will finish their campaign away to HC Melbourne from 6:30pm on Thursday night, in what will be long-time star Emily Donovan’s final appearance.
Tassie Tigers 0
NSW Pride 5 (Wilson 23’, Arnott 26’, Blamey 40’, Jones 43’/43’)
Friday 4 November 2022
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Umpires: Rhiannon Murrie & Cassidy Gallagher
Tassie Tigers Women’s team: 1.Sarah McCambridge, 3.Hannah Richardson, 4.Maddi Brooks, 5.Taylor Brooks, 7.Maddy Murphy (c), 8.Cassie Sumfest, 9.Emily Donovan, 10.Kiah Williams, 12.Lou Maddock, 14.Brooke DeBerdine, 15.Lucy Cooper, 16.Madi Clark, 20.Beth Dobbie, 21.Lauren Canning, 25.Evie Dalton (gk)
NSW Pride Women’s team: 1.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 2.Sarah Johnston, 3.Hannah Kable, 4.Kendalle Tait, 6.Estelle Hughes, 8.Alana Kavanagh, 10.Greta Hayes, 19.Morgan Blamey, 20.Maddi Smith, 21.Alice Arnott, 23.Abigail Wilson (c), 24.Mariah Williams, 30.Makayla Jones, 31.Emma Spinks, 32.Grace Young
The Tassie Tigers have roared back into title contention with a clinical 2-1 defeat of the NSW Pride, with Kookaburras star Jeremy Hayward marking his return to the Sultana Bran Hockey One League with a goal.
In a captivating and physical match that saw neither side give an inch, the Tigers set piece prowess and attacking half creativity was the difference between the two sides.
Hayward only flew back into Australia on Tuesday and whilst admitting to being a little tired, was really happy with the team’s performance.
“I got back Tuesday and I’m a little tired today, but in the end, it was a good result. I’m pretty happy to be back with the Tassie boys,” Hayward said.
“All the talk was about the guys that are missing but they’re still a good side. Those young guys, they’re quicker than me some of them but they’re still a strong side and it was a tough outing, even with the eight penalty corners for us.”
In claiming victory, the Tigers buried the ghosts of their late fadeout to the Canberra Chill and leapfrogged them into fourth place on the table.
“We talked about the red zone late in the game, being very careful and able to control the game in the last five minutes, and not be safe in a way but be controlling and in charge,” Hayward explained.
“We did that with our passing I thought. Our midfield was really strong, their presence in there and the red zone was really important, so we did well.”
Ash Thomas was massive in the net for the Pride to defend the eight penalty corner opportunities for the hosts, but even he could do little as Hayward sent a tracer-bullet flick high into the net to opening the scoring after 11 minutes.
NSW Pride had earned the opening shot of the match through Ehren Hazell but were then starved of opportunities as Tigers defenders Tim Deavin and Jeremy Edwards stamped their authority.
Approaching half-time, the Tigers doubled their advantage when Jack Welch flicked truly from their fifth set piece of the half, and it would have been difficult to argue that the hosts hadn’t been good for that 2-0 lead.
NSW Pride responded and went up a gear off the back off intelligent passing from Dylan Martin and Sam Gray, while Jack Hayes tried to provide good ball running.
Their efforts were rewarded when Ky Willott scored in the 37th minute and it was game on.
Tigers goalkeeper Henry Chambers was forced into a remarkable double save and another huge stretch with his right foot, before his opposing number Thomas then tried to outdo him.
Thomas initially saved from a crash ball from Eddie Ockenden, who dazzled in possession throughout the second half, and the keeper recovered from the floor to save a seemingly certain Josh Brooks tomahawk goal on the cusp of three-quarter time.
The Pride continued to throw numbers forward in the final term, but their efforts were thwarted by a yellow card to Callum Mackay.
The Tigers had some late opportunities to excitement machine Ruben Hoey and Hayward, before they implemented their game management skills to close out the win.
Tassie will now face a nervous test watching the Chill battle the Perth Thundersticks tomorrow, before heading to face HC Melbourne on Thursday night from 6:30pm, while NSW simply must beat the Chill in Parkes on Saturday to secure a ticket to Bendigo in a thrilling finale to the second edition.
Tassie Tigers 2 (Hayward 11’, Welch 28’)
NSW Pride 1 (Willott 38’)
Friday 4 November 2022
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Umpires: Jayden Pearson & Tim Sheahan
Tassie Tigers Men’s team: 2.Tyler McDonald, 4.Hayden Beltz, 6.Josh Brooks, 7.Josh Mardell, 9.Jeremy Edwards, 10.Ruben Hoey, 11.Eddie Ockenden, 13.Joshua Beltz (c), 14.Jack Welch, 15.Kieron Arthur, 19.Tim Deavin, 22.Oliver Pritchard, 23.Henry Chambers (gk), 27.Gobindraj Gill, 32.Jeremy Hayward
NSW Pride Men’s team: 5.Ash Thomas (gk), 7.Daine Richards, 8.Nathaniel Stewart, 9.Nathan Czinner, 14.Dylan Martin, 15.Miles Davis, 19.Tom Brown, 20.Ky Willott, 23.Ryan Proctor, 25.Jack Hayes (c), 26.Ehren Hazell, 28.Sam Gray, 32.Callum Mackay, 33.Sam Mudford, 35.Rory Walker