Fifth Rank Finish for WA's AHL Teams
Hockey | Published:
Mon 9 October 2017
Both the WA Thundersticks and Diamonds ensured they finished their 2017 Australian Hockey League (AHL) campaigns on a positive note after securing wins in their final fixtures at the Perth Hockey Stadium.
The WA Thundersticks defeated Tasmania 2-1 before the WA Diamonds thrashed South Australia 4-1. The results meant both sides secured fifth place finishes in their respective tournaments – the highest available rank, having missed out on semi-finals.
The Thundersticks got off to a flying start and Connolly, Wickham and Mitton all had chances early on although Lovell was also forced to make a smart save at the other end to keep the scores level.
In the second quarter the Thundersticks broke the deadlock when Trent Mitton smashed it in just seconds after Frank Main went close himself to ensure WA enjoyed the lead at half-time.
Two minutes into the second half and Liam Flynn put the home side two goals to the good after he expertly flicked home from a penalty corner. Mitton then had the chance to extend the lead after WA were awarded a penalty stroke but Tassie goalkeeper Tristan Clemons guessed correctly and saved brilliantly to his left and with under 90 seconds left Kieron Arthur reduced the deficit.
In the final quarter, Lovell was the hero twice more to deny the visitors an equaliser and despite a flurry of late penalty corners WA’s defence stayed strong and they hung on for the victory.
Speaking after the, WA Thundesticks and Kookaburras striker, Trent Mitton, said he was pleased to have ended the campaign on a high. He added: "It’s always a close game against Tasmania. We got 2-0 up again but just couldn’t quite close it out as has been the story of our tournament but it was an enjoyable match and it’s good to get the win.
"As soon as we knew we were in the bottom half of the group it’s always nice to finish the highest we could. We’ve had a good couple of wins the last few days so it’s a nice way to finish.”
The WA Diamonds also got off to a great start with Kathryn Slattery firing into the roof of the net in the 7th minute after good work from Jacqui Day down the right hand side.
In the second quarter Penny Squibb flicked home from a penalty corner to extend the home side’s lead and take her tally for the tournament to seven.
Katy Clarke then got in on the action in the third quarter with a neat reverse stick shot after good work from Jemma Buckley to make it 3-0. South Australia goalkeeper Ashlee Wells then did her bit to keep her side in it after saving well from a Penny Squibb penalty stroke.
But in the final quarter Kathryn Slattery killed off any hopes of a comeback after capitalising on a mistake at the back to run through on goal before expertly chipping over the on-rushing SA goalkeeper Amy Hammond. SA’s Amy Hunt then scored a last minute consolation.
Reflecting on the game, WA Diamonds and Hockeyroos forward, Kathryn Slattery, said: "It was pretty tough, getting knocked out of the top four but to come out strong in the last few games especially that one – it was a really solid performance out there on the pitch, we scored a bucket of goals and overall we completely dominated the game. That’s a great finish for the group.
"I was happy to get the two goals [today], it’s been a bit of a tough tournament in that sense, we’ve had a lot of shots - you miss by a tiny inch here and a little bit there so I was really happy to slot a couple today.”