By Adam Clifford
A record Sultana Bran Hockey One League crowd has witnessed a thrilling shootout result for the Tassie Tigers in the women’s match before Brisbane Blaze spoilt the home town party in the men’s encounter at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre tonight.
The Tassie Tigers have made a massive statement, opening their Sultana Bran Hockey One League women’s campaign by upstaging defending champions Brisbane Blaze with a captivating 3-1 penalty shootout victory.
After scores were locked 2-2 at the end of regular time, Tigers goalkeeper Evie Dalton denied three Blaze shootouts in succession from Rosie Malone, Savannah Fitzpatrick and Britt Wilkinson.
The visitors initially led in the shootout as Hannah Cullum-Sanders converted and goalkeeper Emily Witheyman-Crump denied Tigers rising star Maddi Brooks.
But it was all Tassie from then on, with Maddy Murphy and USA internationals Cassie Sumfest and Brooke DeBerdine scoring to complete an impressive first up victory.
Tigers captain Murphy was beside herself with excitement and pride after seeing DeBerdine score the final shootout and joining her teammates in a celebration befitting the occasion.
“This is phenomenal. I’m so proud of all the girls tonight because we stuck to the game plan, played so hard for the whole game and I’m overwhelmed at how incredible this win is,” said Murphy.
“A shoutout to (Tigers goalkeeper) Evie Dalton who was incredible out there. They had nothing on her and the home crowd advantage tonight definitely helped so thank you to everyone who came out and supported us.”
It became apparent early in the contest that the young Tigers, blooding nine debutants, were up for the contest with Murphy and Sumfest registering first quarter shots before both sides traded penalty corner opportunities.
The Blaze came within an inch of opening the scoring goal before half-time, but Rebecca Greiner and Malone couldn’t finish a promising move.
The contest shifted in tempo when Tigers veteran Emily Donovan earned a penalty stroke, firing past Witheyman-Crump and into a Blaze foot on the goal-line.
Maddi Brooks stepped up, just days after turning eighteen years of age to duly score, before thumping home a conversion on her reverse stick side.
The Blaze lifted the tempo in search of a way back into the match and were rewarded when Fitzpatrick deflected home, only for Dalton to negate her conversion attempt.
A mesmerising piece of individual skill from Cullum-Sanders created an equaliser for Malone, but her conversion could only skim the outside of the post to send the match to a shootout.
The Tigers’ clinical routines, coupled with Dalton’s brilliance, saw them earn a bonus point and into second on the Sultana Bran Hockey One League ladder.
Brisbane Blaze will return home with two points and face the Canberra Chill on Thursday, while the Tigers head to Adelaide to face the Fire on Saturday night.
Tassie Tigers 2 (M.Brooks 37’/37’)
Brisbane Blaze 2 (Fitzpatrick 48’, Malone 55’)
Tassie Tigers win shootout 3-1
Friday 30 September 2022
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Tassie Tigers Women’s team: 1.Sarah McCambridge, 2.Jillian Wolgemuth, 3.Hannah Richardson, 4.Maddi Brooks, 5.Taylor Brooks, 6.Raeleigh Phillips, 7.Maddy Murphy (c), 8.Cassie Sumfest, 9.Emily Donovan, 11.Eliza Westland, 12.Lou Maddock, 14.Brooke DeBerdine, 20.Beth Dobbie, 21.Lauren Canning, 25.Evie Dalton (gk)
Brisbane Blaze Women’s team: 1.Savannah Fitzpatrick, 2.Ambrosia Malone, 3.Casey Dolkens, 4.Ashley Fey, 6.Morgan Gallagher (c), 7.Hannah Cullum-Sanders, 8.Jade Smith, 12.Tatum Stewart, 13.Rebecca Greiner, 19.Morgan Mathison, 22.Britt Wilkinson, 23.Ruby Harris, 24.Claire Colwill, 30.Georgina West, 32.Emily Witheyman-Crump (gk)
Braces to Joel Rintala and Cale Cramer have helped the Brisbane Blaze complete a smash and grab job away to the Tassie Tigers in front of a parochial club record crowd in Round 1 of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League.
The on-field action was matched only by the incredible Hobart off-field atmosphere, with official figures recording 2,080 patrons in attendance as two perennial title contenders went toe to toe.
The match itself saw the visitors burst out of the blocks with Rintala smashing home an unstoppable penalty corner flick in the third minute.
Tassie appeared stunned by the aerial prowess of Hugh Pembroke, Tim Howard and Corey Weyer in the first period and their indecision was punished when Cramer scored and duly converted his follow up attempt.
The home crowd lifted their troops but after Kieron Arthur had a set piece flick saved by Blaze goalkeeper Mitch Nicholson, Rintala drove the knife in with his second goal from the top of the circle.
Tassie continued to play aggressively and legend Eddie Ockenden rose them off the canvas with a neat finish, but even his brilliance couldn’t bring the deficit back to two goals.
The final term was largely played on Tassie’s terms, but despite winning the penalty corner count 7-4, there would be no further way past the Blaze’s gutsy defensive group.
“This was massive for us. I thought it was a really good performance from the guy’s tonight and obviously it was a wonderful night for hockey with a lot of people out here watching,” said Player of the Match, Hugh Pembroke.
“We had a couple of debutants tonight too so I’m really happy with how we went about it and it’s a really good result for us going forward.”
Pembroke was also quick to turn his attention to their first home match against the Canberra Chill on Thursday.
“They’re a very good side with a couple of internationals, a couple of Japanese guys as well coming to play for them this year and they’re always a very tough challenge.”
“But now we’re excited to get back home and have a game in Brisbane.”
“It has been a couple of years since we’ve played in front of the Brisbane crowd and we can’t wait to get up there on Thursday and put in another good performance.”
The Tigers expect to regain star forward and set piece specialist Sam McCulloch for their first away match against the Adelaide Fire on Saturday night.
Tassie Tigers 1 (Ockenden 35’)
Brisbane Blaze 4 (Rintala 3’/30’, Cramer 14’/14’)
Friday 30 September 2022
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Tassie Tigers Men’s team: 4.Hayden Beltz, 5.Benjamin Austin, 6.Joshua Brooks, 7.Joshua Mardell, 8.Joseph Murphy, 9.Jeremy Edwards, 11.Eddie Ockenden, 13.Joshua Beltz (c), 15.Kieron Arthur, 19.Tim Deavin, 20.James Bourke, 23.Henry Chambers (gk), 26.Oliver Smith, 27.Gobindraj Gill
Unused substitute: 25.Max Larkin (gk)
Brisbane Blaze Men’s team: 2.Shane Kenny, 3.Corey Weyer, 4.Hugh Pembroke, 5.Lucas Brown, 7.Joel Rintala, 9.Jacob Anderson, 10.Jayden Atkinson, 11.Michael Francis, 13.Ethan White, 14.Isaac Layton, 15.Cale Cramer, 16.Tim Howard (c), 17.Scott Boyde, 27.Jared Taylor, 32.Mitchell Nicholson (gk)