On Friday night the Adelaide Fire hosted the Perth Thundersticks at the State Hockey Centre in Adelaide in the second of three straight home games for the Fire.
The match started well for the home team with the Fire controlling the play and creating a number of chances. Kate Denning was a rock in defence not allowing anything past and finding the Fire midfield with ease, while New Zealand international import Gemma Macaw was dynamic up front using her speed to create the best chances of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Perth Thundersticks take some control of the match placing the Adelaide Fire under pressure and not allowing any easy outlets to keep the ball in their attacking half. Just like the Fire in the first quarter the Thundersticks were unable to convert their dominance with both teams going into the long break still locked at 0-0.
The third quarter saw a seesawing affair with both teams having chances through smart attacking moves with the Adelaide Fire having the better chances of the two sides. Some great individual play through the midfield from Gabi Nance saw the Fire earn a short corner in the 12th minute of the third quarter that Macaw scrapped at the goal mouth to put the Adelaide Fire 1-0 up in front of the home crowd. The goal seemed to spark the Fire girls as the chances continued, however the Thundersticks defence held firm to go into three quarter time trailing by just the solitary goal.
The fourth quarter started with the Thundersticks winning a short corner early on and could have considered themselves unlucky not to convert as the ball bounced around the circle and across the face of the goal. However, the Thundersticks would draw level when Roos Broek found the back of the net from the back post after some smooth ball movement. Broek was then able to convert her conversion opportunity and in the blink of an eye the Thundersticks were 2-1 up.
Now trailing, the Adelaide Fire lifted and were placing the Thundersticks defence under pressure. Gabi Nance had the best change of the final minutes with a hard back stick shot that was brilliantly saved by Thundersticks goal keeper Aleisha Power to secure the Perth Thundersticks their first regular time win of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League.
The men’s match saw the Adelaide Fire welcome back Japanese internationals Kota Watenabe and Hirotaka Zendana to take on a Perth Thundersticks side littered with Kookaburras experience.
The match started with neither team being able to take full control. The Thundersticks did manage to win a short corner in the dying seconds of the quarter, however it was well saved by Adelaide Fire goalkeeper and debutant Ben Hooppell.
The second quarter saw the Adelaide Fire start the better of the two sides and the result was a smart overhand finish by Watenabe after the initial shot was saved by Thundersticks goalkeeper Tyler Lovell. Watenabe then calmly finished his conversion opportunity to put the home side 2-0.
The Fire continued to apply the pressure on the Thundersticks defence until a Trent Mitton interception at the half way line saw him beat three Fire defenders and calmly score and then convert the one on one opportunity for the Thundersticks’ first goals of the day.
The third quarter saw the quality of the Thundersticks line up take control of the match with a very smart build up of play asking a lot of questions of the Adelaide Fire defence. Jake Harvie was able to create some space in the midfield leading to a close range shot from Daniel Robertson being put in the back of the net. Robertson then coolly capitalised on his conversion opportunity to increase the visitors’ lead to two with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. However, there would be more to come before the interval with Alec Rasmussen smashing a volley into the top left-hand corner.
When the Thundersticks’ Kookaburras quartet Harvey, Aran Zalewski, Mitton and Tom Wickham all linked up early in the last quarter to extend the lead further, the sting of the game disappeared until Watenabe scored his third and then fourth goals to make the score 6-4. That is how it would stay as the Thundersticks were able to hold out the Fire to take the win.
The Adelaide Fire will look to get their first win of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League when they play their final home game of the season on Saturday 26 October against the Canberra Chill.
Women’s Match Details
Adelaide Fire 1 (McCaw 42’)
Perth Thundersticks 2 (Broek 51’/51’)
Men’s Match Details
Adelaide Fire 4 (Kota 20’/20’/60’/60’)
Perth Thundersticks 6 (Mitton 28’/28’, Robertson 42’/42’, Rasmussen 43’, Wickham 49’)
Written by Max Bail