The NSW 60s won a tense and exciting final against Western Australia to give them a repeat of their triumph over the same opposition in 2011.
Our man-on-man marking and lag press strategy saw us place the WA defence under great pressure during the first half. A succession of penalty corners just ten minutes into the match led to our first goal when Bruce Snape's powerful shot was too good for the WA goalkeeper. The score remained 1-0 for some time but the advantage was with NSW who were unable to score a second time. One shot from your scribe was deflected onto the underside of the crossbar and fell millimetres back into the circle.
WA fought hard in the latter part of the half and a superb piece of play from their inside right Peter Morgan saw his shot at goal deflected into the net by an unmarked Dudley Evans on the left post.
Early in the second half Noel French, despite being severely hampered by a hamstring tear, forced a penalty corner with some fine stick work down the right wing. Skipper, Bruce Snape converted to allow us to regain the lead. We relaxed our marking for a moment and after some ineffective clearances WA was awarded a disputed penalty corner which Ian Pestana converted with a memorable shot past our keeper. The arm wrestle continued, the tension palpable in the last ten minutes. NSW continued to attack at every opportunity as we tried everything possible to score another goal. With six minutes to play, a neat move between Snape and myself saw the shot just miss. But we were not likely to give up and in the 65th minute, a quick move along the WA backline eliminated three defenders and led to a pass to Noel French. His shot was blocked, but that big-hearted player, Russell Clucas slotted the winner with a consumate back stick shot from the rebound. The last four minutes saw NSW control the ball and prevent WA from mounting an attack.
It was a great team effort, considering that five players suffered injuries during the week.
At the end of the match, our team enthusiastically thanked our very happy band of spouses, Sue Williams, Marion Cranston, Merilyn Snape, Heather Ingram, Anne Sweeney, Jan Dillon, Diane Rounsley, and Jenny Jarvis for their rousing support during the final, and throughout the tournament.
We also thanked Jan, our marvellous physiotherapist, for a magnificent job in keeping us on the field.
Finally, we congratulated Dave Edwards and his wife Rhonda for their great effort in managing the team.
Ron Dillon - Ron was a key member of our team in 2011 and we missed his skill and determination on the field this year. Unfortunately, Ron had a heart attack two weeks before the carnival and was unable to play. However, he showed great team spirit by coming to the championships and by being an integral part of the team. His analysis and advice at half time in each match was succinct and always helpful. Ron was ably assisted by his grandson Angus, who also became part of the team.
Players' Player for the Tournament- Keith Jarvis deserved the award for an outstanding performance on our left side defence in every match.
Overall, the championships were universally acknowledged as the best that we have had for the past ten years. The venue at Hobart was superb with the three water-based fields at the one location, excellent facilities for players, medical staff, umpires, officials and supporters, and a very high standard of catering.
An extraordinary goal-scoring performance by team manager/player, Dave Edwards, with 4 goals, was the highlight of our comfortable win over WA Country. Edwards, who was added to the player list after defender Ron Dillon was forced to withdraw after heart surgery, was in perfect position on the left wing to to finish off many attacking moves by the forward line.
Bruce Snape gave the team a great start with a penalty corner conversion in the fifth minute. Paul Rounsley had a fine match at right half before being replaced by Denis Cranston, who had been rested for part of the game to give his calf injury some extra time to repair. Naylor, McConnell and Jervis were once again solid in defence, while Ray Northwood was dangerous on the right wing.
Overall, a good tram performance against WAC who tried hard but were no match for us today.
Finals on Saturday will feature 7 NSW teams. Full details are on another page.
We lost to a well-structured WA team in a match that was a real arm wrestle, where shots at goal were as rare as "hen's teeth". WA converted from the only penalty corner of the game when we failed to clear the shot that was saved by John Williams.
We made more penetrations inside the circle that WA, but their very solid defence blocked our attempts to score. Our defence was just as strong and the match was perhaps memorable for the number of turnovers that we made (self-inflicted) and the number of injuries that we had by the end of the match. (Noel French -hamstring, Kerry Wise - knee, Ted Ingram - knee, Stevie Graham - leg and Denis Cranston - calf).
Keith Jervis, Bruce Snape, Rick McConnell and Milton Naylor all played well.
Best & Fairest were Peter Morgan (WA) and Rick McConnell. Keith Jervis won the NSW players' player award.
Philosophically, the loss was a good lesson in how well the WA team plays and should have provided us with much food for thought for the final - assuming that we win the semi-final on Friday.
An outstanding goalkeeping performance by Victoria's Neil Coster was the major feature of a fast-paced match which we won with a goal in each half. NSW attacked relentlessly down both flanks and applied constant pressure to the Victorian defence, generating many circle penetrations and shots on goal in the process. Coster saved Victoria on 12 occasions during a hectic first half. Ray Northwood was once again in the right place to score our first goal.
Several turnovers by NSW during the second half allowed our opponents the opportunity to attack through David Peebles and Alastair McNab. However, our backs, led superbly by Rick McConnell broke down every move and forced Victoria to lose possession. Stevie Graham again converted a chance to complete the scoring. Apart from McConnell, Keith Jervis, Phil Younger, Bruce Snape and Noel French all had strong games.
Our final round game against undefeated WA on Wednesday will determine first and second places before the semi finals.
The respective best and fairest players were Neil Coster and your scribe, while Rick McConnell won our players' player award for an outstanding exhibition of tackling and passing.
Tasmania, under the astute leadership of centre half, Graeme Corney, provided us with a quality tussle and although our all-out attack kept the match in the opposition's half for the first fifteen minutes, we found shots at goal hard to come by. Your scribe broke the deadlock with a field goal in the twentieth minute and was immediately subbed. Replacement inside right, Phil Younger, then produced a superbly skilful effort to beat several defenders along the backline before passing sublimely to Noel French who made no mistake with his shot.
Noel French was often in the action and a magnificent shot just before half time produced a fabulous save from the Tasmanian goalkeeper, Paul Whiddon. French is having a wonderful tournament - his pace and silky skills are a pleasure to watch.
Tasmania made several penetrations into our half during the second stanza and provided some real test for our defence. However, McConnell, Naylor, Rounsley, Jervis and Williams were not to be beaten. Your ever-faithful scribe scored another field goal in the 62nd minute and was once again subbed. Kerry Wise and Stevie Graham, who both ran hard all game, were rewarded for their efforts by scoring fine goals to cap off another good all-round team performance.
The respective men-of-the-match were Tasmania's fullback, Colin Ryan (who had a brilliant game) and your scribe. The NSW players' player was the very deceptive Phil Younger.
Sunshine and relief from the very strong winds of yesterday provided us with cool but otherwise excellent conditions for our early match against SA. With Rick McConnell back from his business trip to Sydney, our defence looked stronger, and it proved to be so with a fine team performance and a 7-1 result. Ray Northwood was regularly in the right place and scored 4 goals. Kerry Wise, Bruce Snape and your scribe also scored.
The teamwork was much more cohesive than in the match against ACT and the SA defence could not withstand the pressure. We conceded an early goal following some sloppy tackles which allowed a sole attacker to score from close range.
Men of the match were Dale Thompson (SA) and Denis Cranston (NSW), while the NSW players' player was Ray Northwood.
Hurricane force winds battered most of Tasmania today and, though the day was sunny, the hockey centre was not spared, with playing conditions extremely difficult. We met a determined ACT team who marked tightly and defended superbly. We started strongly and spent much time inside the opposition half, however, in the main, the circle penetrations did not bear fruit. We seemed to be often at sixes and sevens and did not spread the ball widely enough. Our structure broke down and we allowed the ACT "king pins", Denis Lovell and John Nicholas, to easily thwart our attack.
That man Snape was once again in the action and he converted a penalty corner with a very strong drive just before half time. Paul Griffin, the ACT Goalie, made several fine saves to deny us during the first half and we lead 1-0 at the break.
The second half was very scrappy, but we did manage a number of shots at goal, some of which were on target, however we failed to put away the rebounds. We experienced too much trouble clearing the ball from our 23m area and ACT took advantage with our goalkeeper John Williams being required to make several saves. With four minutes to play we gave away a penalty stroke which Denis Lovell converted in style. We forced a couple of penalty corners in the dying seconds but were unable to convert. The final scoreline was a great credit to the ACT team and we congratulated them heartily. NSW missed Rick McConnell at fullback.
The man of the match awards were the ACT Goalkeeper, Paul Griffin, and our midfielder Denis Cranston. The NSW players' player award went to Keith Jervis, for another fine performance.
Bruce Snape continued his brilliant form from the World Cup with an outstanding display against a tough and resilient WAC, scoring four goals. His pace and strength on the ball proved too much for our opponents, whose man-to-man marking style made us work hard to find a way through their defence.
Bruce eventually cracked them in the 25th minute with a well taken field goal, and Ted Ingram then scored in the 33rd minute.
The pattern of play in the second half was a repeat of the first half with WAC defending stoutly for twenty minutes. But the relentless pressure told on them and we scored a further four goals with the last, a penalty corner conversion by Denis Cranston after the full time whistle.
Ian Evans won the NSW award for the WAC man of the match, while Bruce Snape was their choice. The NSW team was cohesive and fast. Rick McConnell, Keith Jervis, Noel French, Ted Ingram, Phil Younger and Ray Northwood all gave excellent performances.
Another strong performance, and a better one than that of the previous day, saw us beat Queensland 5-0. Noel French was in dazzling form and scored the fastest goal of the tournament after just 15 seconds of the first half. Your scribe scored the second goal after some good combination with Bruce Snape and Ted Ingram.
Noel French was proving to be a handful for the Queensland defence and hammered another goal midway through the second half. We played with an effective structure that saw the ball transferred from one side of the field to the other, thereby creating many penetrations into the QLD circle. We had numerous shots on goal and found the opposition goalkeeper equal to the task. Bruce Snape and Kerry Wise added further goals in the second half. Overall, it was a pretty good team effort.
NSW voted the Queensland goalkeeper, Brian Seboa the man of the match while QLD made their award to your faithful scribe. The NSW players voted Noel French as their players' player.