Hockey quartet selected for Riverina

Adelong’s Ashleigh Yan and Lewis Arragon contest the ball
Adelong’s Ashleigh Yan and Lewis Arragon contest the ball

TALENTED youngsters Clara Dobbie, Taylah Wilson, Declan McQuellin and Ethan Contessa made it into their respective Riverina hockey teams after trialling in Albury last Friday.

In hot conditions, they impressed the selectors and are now on their way to Grafton (girls) and Sydney (boys) for the PSSA Championships in June.

The hockey community wishes them well for these carnivals and know they will have a fantastic time.

The girls will no doubt enjoy the Tumut junior hockey carnival scheduled for Sunday May 26 at Elm Drive, with teams from Wagga and Crookwell visiting to give Tumut’s under 11s, 13s and 15s girls a run. Anyone interested in playing in the carnival, please let your coach know this Saturday.

It was another summery day for hockey last weekend, in contrast to what is predicted for this weekend’s games. Last weekend’s games were again contrasting, with some very tight scores as well as some one-sided results.

No doubt as the season progresses this will continue to change as teams improve their skills and fitness.

In C grade, Adelong teams Rebels and Strykers met for the first time this year. It was a tough game for all, with Strykers getting on top early.

Rebels however ran through to outscore the opposition in the second half, with the result 3-2 Rebels’ way.

Excellent teamwork took place, with the older players giving the younger ones a decent crack at the play. Tom Salmon was fast and furious for Strykers, earning their best player recognition and two goals.

Rebels’ Taylah Wilson kept running the ball up the field, and was too fast for the Strykers’ defence. She scored twice and Mia Hardwick once for Rebels.

Also in C grade, Gunners defeated Batlow Storm 7-0, with Andy Dodds and Josh Elworthy bagging a hat-trick each while Cooper Carter scored one goal.

Gunners’ season-opening game against the Storm featured newcomer Billy Lawson.

The Gunners goal scorers combined well with Natalie Erbacher and Lucy MacMaster in attack. Dominic Erbacher, Patrick Erbacher, Eddie Dodds, Billy Lawson and Harry Bottero all had strong games in defence.

The schmick Gunners outfit was a force to be reckoned with, and the young Storm side struggled from the first whistle against the Tumut onslaught.

Even Storm’s ‘big guns’ Ryley Collins, Aidan Jones, Cassidy Lott and Darcy Brennan could not keep pace with the more experienced and well-drilled Gunners attack, but were determined to slow their progress at every opportunity with well-timed tackles and solid defence.

Darcy however was Storm’s standout player, showing a level of maturity with his game and knowing when to fast break and when to pass to team-mates.

Jack Wilkinson was fantastic in goal for Storm in the first half, before sore feet led to Cassie French donning the goalie gear for Storm in the second half.

Riley ‘Rocket’ Gould showed no fear against the much bigger Gunners kids, never hesitating to chase down an opponent who was a good two times larger at any time. Charlotte Ovenden continued to hone her skills and was never far from the action.

Youngsters Ethan Irwin and Jack Bevan became involved in the passes nice and early and made some lovely tackles. New player Jessica Jacques proved to be an invaluable find for Storm, showing a natural athletic ability and tenacity, and will be one player to keep an eye on in coming weeks.

Jack Gould’s athletic prowess played to Storm’s strengths in those rare moments of attack, and he was unlucky not to score in the dying minutes.

Seasoned player Bree Bowman continued to improve, and when she has the ball she does great things with it.

A crushing defeat for Storm, but one that will see a more determined side take the field for their next match. Gunners players are to be congratulated on their excellent sportsmanship throughout and after the game, sharing encouragement with Storm’s littler players – well done!

In B grade, Cavaliers defeated RSL Blue 5-3. This was a nerve-wracking match for spectators as the game continually hung in the balance until very late in the second half, when Cavaliers got their attacking sequences together to drive home two late goals.

RSL Blue put Cavaliers through their paces all game, with some fantastic passing. Nathan Christian played superbly in goal for Cavaliers in the first half. Jess Cahill was indispensable for the Cavaliers attack, until her recurring shoulder injury forced her out of the game indefinitely.

Cavaliers relied heavily on C graders Ryley Collins, Cassidy Lott and Aidan Jones to aid in their defence and attack, with Ryley Collins combining well with Jayden Kent to set up a couple of lovely goals.

Standout players for Cavaliers were the wingers moonlighting as fullbacks, Taylah Bowman and Declan Heyen, who made the difference in the second half for Cavaliers and were rock solid in their defence.

Outstanding for Cavaliers was Veronica Britt, whose positioning to score a hat-trick of goals was absolutely textbook, while Jordan Neill scored all three goals for RSL. Jayden Kent and Aaron Russell scored once each for the victors.

Tumut started well in the first half, scoring a goal in the first five minutes. All of Tumut RSL Blue’s players did a great job in a hard fought game, and special thanks to the C grade floaters for helping out.

B grade’s blockbuster match between rival Adelong teams Konxions and Tomahawks was well contested, with Konxions winning 2-1.

Dylan Harmer played well in his first game in the green and gold Konxions colours, fitting in well with his new team-mates. Konxions’ backs had a tough time initially, with Molly Salmon and Danika Shelley working hard against Tomahawks’ attacks.

Goalkeeper Georgia Hughes had another blinder, saving some great shots at goal. Konxions halves Amy Dean and Kyle Contessa played well, trapping the ball and sending it wide to right inner Amanda Kendall. She then dribbled the ball into the circle for an unsuccessful first shot (hitting the post) which Renae Bright then cleaned up to smack the ball into the back of the goal.

Bren O’Brien immediately returned serve for Tomahawks, evening the score.

However just on half-time, Konxions’ centre half sent the ball wide again, this time to C grade floater Taylah Wilson who generously passed to Amanda Kendall. She shot it straight onto Renae to finish off the play, taking the score to 2-1 going into half-time. Mia Hardwick was a strong support during this play.

Both sides played strongly after half-time with the ball spreading wide across all of the field, but neither was able to break the ice, and the score remained the same at the final whistle.

Tomahawks’ better players included Alison Dean and Sophie Ryan.

A grade’s first game was the battle of the ages, with a generally younger Quicksticks side (with a couple of exceptions on their side with birth certificates that may well be classified as antique) facing the more experienced Batlow side.

Although struggling with the unseasonal heat, Mustangs managed to hang on to secure a win.

Mustangs inners Michelle Post and Lisa Roberts worked tirelessly throughout the game, utilising wingers Karen Christian and Michelle Wainwright well.

An ill-timed deflection in the Mustangs circle saw a high ball collect winger Michelle Wainwright flush on the forehead, forcing her to retire early from the match with an ice pack and a bump.

Toni Lee Roberts made lots of inroads in the Mustangs’ attack as her replacement, and teamed up nicely with her mother on a few fast breaks.

Tara Arnall, Libbi Stokes and Andrea Glynn had their work cut out for them on several occasions as the Adelong attackers closed in, with lots of close shaves. As usual, Marg Crowe was dependable as ever in goal.

The standout for Mustangs was Loren Bowman, who seems to have found her niche in the team in the centre forward position, and whose work rate throughout the match was second to none.

Quicksticks players all ran well and didn’t stop trying in the heat, with little break between their B grade game and this one. Ella Neyland and Danika Shelley were great in their respective positions, and were well supported by Caitlyn O’Brien and the rest of their team.

Lisa Roberts and Alicia Lee scored for Mustangs, while Lewis Arragon scored for Quicksticks.

A grade teams Middy Mites and Ori Flames played in a game that was more centrally based, with Middy Mites winning 5-0.

Jacinta O’Donovan was in the thick of Middy Mites’ attack and she scored twice, but was repeatedly thwarted by the Ori defence of Donna Carroll and Trish Connolly across the halves.

Fiona Matthews and Sue Quinnell again had fantastic games for Middy Mites – like good wine they keep improving with age. Jess Weaver was great in the many positions she moved through, as Middy Mites used their one sub player to good effect.

Hayley Keenan, Carinne Maher and Anna Webb scored once each for Middy Mites.

Ori’s attack did not give up, with Ros Piper and Rachel Pearce working hard all game.

The final A grade game was between another younger team in Batlow’s Renegades and Tumut’s Cougars, who also have a couple of regular teenagers in their side.

Last year’s joint premiers were always going to be formidable for Batlow’s development side, and the match certainly lived up to expectations as Cougars triumphed 1-0.

Dylan Harmer made a welcome return to Batlow’s ranks, and was invaluable in the Renegades attack despite being without match practice for some time.

Nathan Christian teamed up well with mum Karen in attack, passing the ball freely around the forward line and in the goal circle.

Amber Jones picked up the pace for Renegades, making life difficult for Cougars at times with some good defensive plays.

Mat Cahill aided in both defence and attack, working well with Taylah Bowman, who maintained a good attacking position all game.

A well played game for Renegades, as Cougars certainly didn’t have it all their own way, and had to work hard for their win.

Cougars players Melissa Thatcher and Laura Andrews were non-stop in their efforts, whilst Naomi Jeffery and Jacki Carter continued their good form.

Jacki scored the lone goal.

Draw for Saturday May 17

C grade: 10am, Field 1, Adelong Rebels v Tumut Gunners (Umpires: Shannon Neill/Michaela Wilson. Canteen: RSL Red); Field 2, Adelong Strykers v Tumut Diggers (Umpires: Shay Rowe/Tiana McGrath); Batlow Storm bye.

B grade: 11am, Field 1, Adelong Konxions v Tumut RSL Blue (Umpires: Marg Crowe/Mel Thatcher. Canteen: Gunners); Field 2, Adelong Tomahawks v Tumut RSL Red (Umpires: Jo Salmon/Donna Carroll); Batlow Cavaliers bye.

A grade: 12.15pm, Field 1, Quicksticks v Middy Mites (Umpires: Lyn Bathgate/Emily Post. Canteen: Tomahawks); 1.30pm, Field 1, Renegades v Mustangs (Umpires: Nat Wilson/Naomi Jeffery. Canteen: Cougars); 3pm, Field 1, Ori Flames v Cougars (Umpires: Tara Arnall/Mark Jones. Canteen: Renegades).