West and Redbacks show strength

West continued its good form by scoring a solid win over Strikers to kick off round 6 of the 2022 Lower South East Hockey Association Division 1 women’s season.

Angela Broad just cannot stop scoring and she put two loose balls into the net from the circle, giving West the perfect start.

To their credit, Strikers were not blown away though and its defence and midfield settled and started to control passages of play in the second quarter.

They had scoring opportunities but could not convert, with a lack of polish in the goal circle the biggest factor.

West linked up well and looked the smoother of the sides into their attack, but were well repelled by Kate Fabian who – as always – was the bedrock for the Strikers side making multiple saves in the goals.

West scored one more goal through a Dana Jones clean hit from the top of the circle to finish the match in style 3-0.

It was an improved performance from Strikers but they were still not yet able to match it with the strength of West.

The Redbacks women continued their strong start to the season with another 3-0 win over Tigers on Sunday. 

The usually sharp Redbacks side was not quite at full strength in the first quarter, making some errors and giving Tigers the chance to attack on a number of occasions.

Ashleigh Doll had a couple of strong runs forward, but the solid Redbacks defence was able to shut this down and prevent any score.

The second quarter saw Redbacks begin to take control through the midfield, but the scores remained at 0-0 going into half time.

The third quarter proved decisive for Redbacks, with all three of their goals coming in the passage of play.

As Redbacks continue to build their attacking play, several short corners arrived before Meg Beck eventually found the breakthrough.

Tigers had a few fast breaks led by Olivia Turner, but the Redbacks defence was able to earn back possession and counter attack. 

Anna Mitchell and Steph Wighton were strong through the midfield and the sharp passing of the Redbacks attackers resulted in two further goals, to Eliza Beck and Lexi Merrett.

All eyes were on Blue Lake Sports Park on Saturday night when West took on Strikers in a Division 1 men’s grand final rematch.

Neither team has been at their best this year and West was looking to improve from a loss last week, while Strikers looked to keep their win streak over their rivals intact.

The first quarter was a tight affair with good ball movement coming from both teams but Strikers kept the pressure up, earning multiple short corners.

This pressure opened the door for two great goals to be scored which put West on the back foot right from the get go.

West stepped up a little in the second quarter, getting some short corners before Brayden Burston slotted a beautiful drag flick to the bottom right through the defender’s legs.

But sadly for West this would be the side’s only goal as Strikers won the game with much better ball movement.

Their forwards dominated space and in the end were just too good and started over running West and putting two more goals in before the end of the game.

In the other Division 1 men’s match Tigers took on Redbacks in what most expected to be a one-sided affair.

Tigers scored first when Greg Doll angled a quick pass to perfection to find Aaron Mengler on the top of the circle, who used his back stick to tomahawk a goal into the top right corner which no goalie would have saved.

Most would have expected Tigers to go on with it from here, but Redbacks took full advantage of some casual defending a couple of minutes later to score a goal of their own through Jarrod Sanders.

Tigers then went ahead after a well-weighted ball into the circle by Luke Hunter was deflected in by Mengler.

But the second term was lack-lustre by Tigers which allowed Redbacks to be well in it at the main break.

In the third quarter they had a golden opportunity to level the scores but the ball went across the face of goals.

Redbacks spent most of the rest of the game in defence, with Aaron Barry solid as always at full back.

He was well supported by Angus Fittler in the middle and youngster Trystan Miller, who made some excellent tackles and also looked lively up forward and at one point forced a goal line save from Tiger Dylan Montgomery.

Doll and Connor Grant kept re-loading the ball into attack for Tigers, but despite the bulk of possession, Tigers squandered a lot of chances over the top of the goals, not forcing a save from keeper.

This combined with desperate defence by Dale Hill and goalie Anthony Basely kept the game at 2-1 until the last minute, in which Blake McKee scored off a short corner to end the game 3-1 in Tigers favour.

There will not be any LSEHA action this weekend due to the Under 15 and 18 zone games in Naracoorte where the association will field boys and girls teams in all grades.

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