The NSW Pride men kept their incredible unbeaten streak intact with a dominant win over Hockey Club Melbourne at Sydney Olympic Park this afternoon. The performance was a stark contrast to that of their female counterparts earlier in the day, who went down to a clinical Melbourne team.
A three goal-haul to Kurt Lovett, a brace from Blake Govers and diving field goal from Flynn Ogilvie were the highlights in the NSW Pride men’s 6-1 win over their neighbours from the south.
An unfortunate deflection off HC Melbourne defender Connar Otterbach late in the first quarter gave the NSW Pride an early two goal advantage after Lovett stepped up and converted the initial goal. He put himself on the scoreboard yet again right before the half-time break after he capitalised on a goal-mouth scramble.
Govers extended the Pride’s lead to five goals in the third quarter after a scorching run along the baseline that was eventually deflected in off HC Melbourne keeper Johan Durst. The NSW win was put beyond doubt by Ogilvie halfway through the final term with a diving field goal in the circle. HC Melbourne captain Russell Ford claimed a consolation goal for his team in the dying minutes of the game to make the final score 6-1.
The win now puts the NSW Pride firmly in second spot behind the Brisbane Blaze on the Sultana Bran Hockey One ladder with a game in hand.
In the women’s game, a second quarter flurry of goals from HC Melbourne broke the hearts of the NSW Pride home-crowd and kept their unbeaten streak going.
Amy Lawton put HC Melbourne on the board early with a field goal but was unable to extend their lead after NSW Pride goal-keeper Jocelyn Bartram expertly dealt with her conversion attempt. Abigail Wilson pegged one back for the Pride two minutes into the second quarter with a fantastic finish from a short corner.
That was the end of the celebrations for the Pride though, as Aisling Utri and Claire Messent put three goals past them to send HC Melbourne into the break with a convincing 4-1 lead. Nicola Hammond extended the lead even further in the third quarter, before Messent and Madi Ratcliffe put the result beyond doubt in the fourth.
In the final minute of the game, Kate Jenner blasted a shot at goal which took a final touch off Casey Sablowski to drag back the score line slightly to 7-2 at the last whistle.
This leaves the NSW Pride women with an uphill battle to make the Sultana Bran Hockey One finals, requiring significant wins from their last two games.
The NSW Pride will now head to Perth next Saturday to take on the Thundersticks, before a trip to Brisbane in the final home-and-away round.
NSW Pride – 2 (Abigail Wilson 17’ Casey Sablowski 60’)
HC Melbourne – 7 (Amy Lawton 7’ Aisling Utri 28’ 28’ Claire Messent 30’ 49’ Nicola Hammond 42’)
NSW Pride – 6 (Kurt Lovett 10’ 10’ 27’ Blake Govers 37’ 37’ Flynn Ogilvie 58’)
HC Melbourne – 1 (Russell Ford 58’)