1 July, 2024

Shane's Scoreboard launched at Dimboola in round eight

The halfway point in the Wimmera Hockey Association season was reached on the weekend with a mix of comfortable wins and several closely fought matches as teams jostle for position on the ladders leading into the last whole competition bye next weekend before the run to the finals.

By Simon King

Eileen Eichberger runs the ball out of defence.
Eileen Eichberger runs the ball out of defence.

A feature of this round was the dedication of ‘Shane’s Scoreboard’, the new electronic scoreboard at the Dimboola venue, during a brief ceremony held before the Under 12 Development Program games.

A significant contributor to the project to replace the original scoreboard, Shane Schwarz sadly passed away late last year to cancer without seeing it completed, but through the efforts of several other Dimboola club members and local tradesmen, it has been installed and was turned on for its first round of matches this weekend.

- Open -

The Open competition featured two contrasting matches, as the leading teams began to flex their muscles.

The match between the teams at each end of the ladder was always going to be a challenge for the fifth-paced Nhill Rangers as they went into the game without three of their most consistent performers, while the competition-leading Yanac Tigers took to the pitch with close to their most potent combination.

The Tigers’ short passing game proved very effective against the Rangers players, many of whom had already played a game in the Women’s or Under 16 competitions, as they controlled the match, earning twenty-one penalty corners without conceding any.

Multiple goal scorers Josh Cramer with three and Todd Alexander with two topped a list of seven scorers who accumulated ten goals in one of the highest tallies in recent Open competition matches.

Despite the odds against them, the Rangers fought out the game and it was no surprise that defenders Brett Tischler, Craig Schultz, and Lee Marra featured prominently amongst their best players.

The evening match on Saturday saw the Warrack Hoops and Kaniva Cobras battle to claim a spot in the top two and challenge the Tigers for the top spot.

The game was played at a very swift pace, possibly because the players needed to keep moving to ward off the cold. Oskar Bennett put the Hoops ahead with the first of his three goals early in the first quarter, but it took them until well into the second half and a couple more goals before they could consider that they had control of the game.

The Cobras’ big-hitting game was effective in keeping the ball moving and creating opportunities for their forwards to pressure the Hoops’ defence, and while they looked dangerous at times, they could not find the goals. Opposing this was the Hoops’ short passing play, which gave their attackers the chances that they capitalised on four times.

Bennett, Isaac McPherson, and Caleb Baldock were the better players for the victors, while performances by the ever-reliable Josh Bedford and Adam Wallis stood out in defence for the Cobras, along with some impressive work from their goalkeeper Noah Krelle, who stopped more scoring attempts than the Hoops were able to get past him.

The Tigers go into the second half of the season in first place, but with only a two point advantage over the Hoops, so they will have to keep winning if they are to claim yet another minor premiership by finishing the regular season on top of the ladder.

Six points further back is the Cobras, two points ahead of the Hurricanes, who had the bye on Saturday, making up the top four.

The Rangers are several wins behind the leaders, but when they have their best team on the pitch, they have looked dangerous, so they cannot yet be dismissed from finals contention.

- Women -

The opening game of the round in the Women’s competition was played on Friday evening between the Dimboola Roos and Horsham Jets. The prize for the winners was the top spot on the ladder, albeit only overnight until the other matches the next day.

Both teams went into the game missing several key players, but the omissions on each side cancelled out which bode well for a very even and competitive game, and that is what they served up.

In another game played in cold conditions, both teams controlled periods of play with effective teamwork and skilful attacking moves, which were matched on all but one occasion by solid defence, with the Roos taking the lead late in the first quarter.

In a heart-stopping finish, the Jets earned a penalty corner just before the final whistle, which had to be played out after full-time.

The first attempt resulted in the awarding of a second penalty in favour of the Jets. On this second attempt, a solid hit by the Jets deflected off one goalpost and shot across the front of the goal, narrowly missing the other goal past and eventually rolling out of bounds to
end the corner and the game.

That shot could easily have been deflected across the goal line to tie the match, but unluckily, for the Jets this was not to be, and the Roos came away with the narrowest of victories.

The two matches in this division on Saturday were not as close on the scoreboard but still provided plenty of action.

For much of their game, Yanac and the Nhill Thunderbirds shared control of the ball in the midfield, but Yanac was more effective in transitioning the play into their forward line and looked more dangerous when they did, earning a total of fourteen penalty corners for the match. In contrast, their defence proved solid at the other end of the ground, only conceding two corners and successfully repelling every Nhill forward venture.

Caitlyn Alexander continued her productive season in front of goals, with two successful scoring shots, while Sharon Croot and Charlotte Dickinson both chipped in to set the margin at four goals.

Regular standout players Erin Alexander and Mikayla Mackley shone for the victors, while Kendra Clark, Tori Cuming, and Caitlyn Rowe were the better contributors for the ‘Birds.

The inexperienced Warracknabeal team continues to show glimpses of improvement, restricting their more fancied opponents to just one goal in each of the second and third quarters, however, Kaniva's many attacking moves eventually registered six goals from six different scorers.

Jess Wallis and Hannah Braisby joined the ever-reliable Lisa Stimson as Kaniva’s best players, and Eileen Eichberger, Kathleen Johns and Madisson Bentley played well for Warracknabeal.

Although the Roos enjoyed about sixteen hours on top of the ladder, the order going into the round was restored after Yanac and Kaniva’s wins, but these three remain close enough that the order could change many times before the finals, and the Jets are just one win behind and stay in the mix to join them.

The Thunderbirds and Warracknabeal will find it increasingly difficult to make the finals, and they will need to make their move soon if they are to challenge.

- Under 16 -

Although the season is only halfway through, four teams have made convincing claims to a place in the finals in the Under 16 division, while the remaining two teams have begun to fall off the pace.

After being winless after three rounds, the Horsham Bombers are beginning to show some impressive form which has seen them consolidate a place amongst the leaders with their third win in the last five rounds, which has given them a ten point buffer between them in fourth place and the teams below them.

In the Friday evening game, the Dimboola Kangaroos claimed the lead early, with a goal before quarter time, but the Bombers replied with two goals in the second quarter to hold the lead at halftime, and they sealed the game with a third soon after play resumed in the second half. The Kangaroos fought out the game to the end, giving a glimpse of what is to come from them once they gain more experience.

The Yanac Warriors and Nhill Leopards played out a scoreless draw. Nhill commanded more of the play, they could not transfer that advantage to the scoreboard. Dominated by five goals off Charlie White’s stick, the Kaniva Raiders had a solid victory over the Warrack Revengers.

These results see Yanac stay on top of the ladder, just ahead of Kaniva, with Nhill comfortably in the top three, and the Bombers staking a valid claim to at least the fourth spot they currently hold and possibly higher by the end of the season if their form continues to improve.

The Association has the last of its full competition byes for the season next week while several local players enjoy the experience of playing in the Junior State Championships, the pinnacle tournament for underage players in Victoria, from Wednesday to Sunday.

The Wimmera has three players in the North West Lightning Zone teams, and five others will represent the South West Eagles.

The Championships involve teams from nine zones across country and metropolitan Victoria, who enter teams in Under 12, Under 14, and Under 16 divisions for both girls and boys.

Two more Wimmera players will participate in the Under 18 Championships, to be played in late September.

Wimmera Hockey Association - Round Eight Results

- Open -

Yanac Tigers 10 (Goals - J Cramer 3, T Alexander 2, J Honeyman, R Croot, S Alexander, B
Alexander, R Mackley; Best - Z Dorrington, R Croot, J Cramer) defeated Nhill Rangers 0
(Best - B Tischler, C Schultz, L Marra) Warrack Hoops 4 (Goals - O Bennett 3, S Schultz; Best - O Bennett, I McPherson, C Baldock) defeated Kaniva Cobras 0 (Best - J Bedford, A Wallis, N Krelle)

Pts GD

Yanac Tigers 24 21
Warrack Hoops 22 9
Kaniva Cobras 16 -3
Horsham Hurricanes 14 -3
Nhill Rangers 4 -24

- Women -

Yanac Women 4 (Goals - C Alexander 2, C Dickinson, S Croot; Best - E Alexander, M
Mackley, S Hedt) defeated Nhill Thunderbirds 0 (Best - K Clark, T Cuming, C Rowe) Kaniva Women 6 (Goals - I Williams, N Hutchins, J Wallis, H Pearse, J Braisby, S Braisby;
Best - L Stimson, J Wallis, H Braisby) defeated Warracknabeal 0 (Best - E Eichberger, K
Johns, Madisson Bentley) Dimboola Roos 1 (Goal - K Marlow; Best - C Hadzig, J Hauselberger, K Marlow) defeated Horsham Jets 0 (Best - L Schilling, H Werner, S Schwarz)

Pts GD

Yanac Women 24 33
Kaniva Women 22 20
Dimboola Roos 22 8
Horsham Jets 18 3
Nhill Thunderbirds 10 -6
Warrack Women 0 -58

- Under 16 -

Nhill Leopards 0 (Best - D Clark, O Bone, T Bee) drew with Yanac Warriors 0 (Best - Asher
Zanker, S Pedie, L Cramer, A Cramer) Kaniva Raiders 10 (Goals - C White 5, F Dodson 2, L Krelle, J Beattie, I Hall; Best - C White, F Dodson, L Krelle) defeated Warrack Revengers 0 (Best - E Williamson, S Williamson, J Ward) Horsham Bombers 3 (Goals - H Mackereth. H Di Pietro, J Schwarz; Best - J Schwarz, H Mackereth, J Di Pietro) defeated Dimboola Kangaroos 1 (Goal - J Ward; Best - J Ward, R Hadzig, A Pretorius, V Ward)

Pts GD

Yanac Warriors 28 30
Kaniva Raiders 26 37
Nhill Leopards 20 17
Horsham Bombers 14 -13
Warrack Revengers 4 -37
Dimboola Kangaroos 4 -34

- Under 12 Development Program -

Dimboola Kookaburras 3 (Goals - R Hadzig 3) v. Horsham Black Hawks 2 (Goals - H
Mitchell, J Mackereth) Nhill Bandits 4 (Goals - D Bee 2, B Cannell 2) v. Yanac Lowan Stars 2 (Goals - M Dart, E Alexander) Kaniva Rampagers 2 (Goals - L Williams, L Doyle) v. Warrack Avengers 1 (Goal - C Peters)


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