Thundersticks pipped at the post in openers

Mitchell Woodcock The West Australian
Sunday, 29 September 2019 7:19PM

Perth Thundersticks had two narrow losses to Hockey Club Melbourne to start their Hockey One campaigns at the Perth Hockey Stadium today.

Melbourne’s Madi Ratcliffe was the star in the women’s game, scoring with 22 seconds left and converting the extra (a one-on-one moving shootout with the goalkeeper) to give the visitors a 3-1 victory.

The visitors opened the scoring when captain Claire Messent deflected the ball into the goal thanks to a set play from their first short corner.

Perth settled and began to win their fair share of the ball before finally levelling the score late in the first half when Shenea Tonkin smashed the ball past Melbourne goalkeeper Rachael Lynch. But she couldn’t give the Thundersticks the lead after the conversion attempt was saved.

Perth pushed for victory with minutes to go but Lynch denied a late shot from Agueda Moroni, which allowed the visitors to counterattack and give Ratcliffe the opportunity to score the match winner.

The Thundersticks men’s team also lost a tight game, going down 5-4 to Melbourne.

Perth star Tom Wickham got the crowd on their feet in the fourth minute when he scored after a counterattack from defence before nailing the conversion for a 2-0 lead.

This awoke Melbourne, who quickly grabbed a 4-2 lead thanks to goals from Nathan Ephraums and captain Russell Ford, who scored within five minutes of each other and both converted the extra.

Perth came out firing after quarter-time and after a flurry of shots, finally got another one past Melbourne goalkeeper Johan Durst when skipper Aran Zalewski slipped a pass to Trent Mitton, who slammed the ball into the top-right corner, then levelled the scores with the conversion. But Ford scored the winner for Melbourne in the third quarter.

Women’s Match Details:

Hockey Club Melbourne 3 (Messent 5’, Ratcliffe 60’/60’)

Perth Thundersticks 1 (Tonkin 26’)

Men’s Match Details:

Hockey Club Melbourne (5) (Ephraums 7’/8’, Ford 11’/12’/32’)

Perth Thundersticks (4) (Wickham 7’/7’, Mitton 20/20’)