NSW won their third consecutive national championship with a solid 3-1 victory over WA at Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre yesterday. In each of those three wins the opposition has been WA.
Noel French set us on our way with a superb field goal in the second minute. The goal was so quick that the bench had not had time to spread the jam and cream on their warm scones. The match then turned into a very tight contest with both teams finding openings in the opponent's defence. We were not as tight as in the epic match on Wednesday and gave the WA forwards too much space on the right side. WA pushed hard, forcing a number of penalty corners and skilfully converted the third in the 17th minute with a neat pass to an unmarked Ian Evans on the left post. Half-time 1-1.
The start of the second half was a mirror image of that of the first half with our team immediately on the attack, winning a penalty corner and Bruce Snape converted with the best-placed shot of the tournament. We dominated the match for the next 20 minutes and despite conceding several penalty corners, our defence was impenetrable. Goalkeeper, John Williams made two crucial saves late in the game. Noel French put the trophy into our hands with another fine goal in the 48th minute.
The match was not the classic contest of the previous Wednesday, but it was worthy of a final. Overall, NSW were the better team on the day. A relentless effort from every player was the major contribution to the result.
Special mention must be made of the significant contribution to the achievement of our physiotherapist Jan Crombie, and our manager, Jan's husband Bob.
Other finals - 40s - WA 4 NSW 1; 45s - NSW 7 - WA 1; 50s - WA 1 VIC 0; 55s - WA 5 NSW 3; 65 - QLD 1 WAC 0; 70 - NSW 2 VIC 1; 55/2 - NSW2 3 NT 0; 50/2 - WA 3 QLD 3; 45/2 NSW 6 QLD 1;
On the coldest day of the championships that saw patches of heavy rain and string south-westerly winds, NSW progressed to the final with a comfortable win over Queensland.
We dominated the early part of the match and our pressure was rewarded with three penalty corners, two of which were converted by Ray Northwood and Noel French, respectively.
We were 2-0 in front at the break and were not threatened at any time. Our defence was again in fine touch and the successful clearing of a number of penalty corners gave our backs and goalkeeper some fine tuning ahead of the final. Dillon, Budden, McConnell, Garred, Jervis and Williams all played well.
Milton Naylor put the result beyond doubt when he scored midway through he second half.
TEAM DINNER AND AWARDS
Our team dinner was held this evening at the Burwood RSL. Our skipper, Bruce Snape was MC and was ably assisted by Manager Bob Crombie.
The players' player award for the championships was won by Keith Jervis for the second year running - just reward for outstanding performances at left half.
The match-by-match awards were won by Terry Ashby, Ray Northwood, Gene Skinner, Noel French, Keith Jervis and Bruce Snape.
Presentations were also made to our manager, Bob Crombie and his wife Jan, our physiotherapist, who worked tirelessly to keep our players on the field. Bruce Snape was also warmly thanked for his inspiring leadership of our team.
WA easily accounted for Vic in the other semi-final 5-0.
We play WA on Satu
Top place on the ladder was at stake in today's final round of the 60s championship. Earlier in the afternoon, Victoria had joined us on 13 points after a tough 1-0 win over Queensland.
NSW started strongly and hit the lead early after a Gene Skinner goal. WA hit back soon after with a great field goal and went ahead 2-1 after Ian Pestana cleverly scored from a penalty corner. NSW continued to attack and drew level when Northwood put a penalty corner rebound into the net. Bruce Snape put us into the lead with a great drive on a penalty corner.
Play see-sawed in the second half and our defence held firm. Northwood was again in the play by setting up a goal for Skinner. Northwood beat several WA players with a fast move along the backline before delivering a perfect pass to Skinner. Skipper, Bruce Snape completed the scoring with another penalty corner conversion.
The entire NSW squad played superbly and the defence was particularly uncompromising. McConnell, Jervis, Garred, Dillon, Budden and Cranston were very effective in defusing the WA attacks.
Awards - WA -Dennis Cranston, NSW - Ray Norton
Semi-finals Thursday - 2.15 WA vs. VIC; 3
The disappointment of failing to score against a defensive Victoria was still fresh in our minds as we took the field against Queensland. The antidote was not far away! A strong attack down the right hand side from the hit off saw Gene Skinner and Noel French combine to eliminate several opponents before Noel superbly scored the opening goal inside of 90 seconds.
Noel was clearly "in the zone" and after a great run down the left flank, his powerful drive across the face of goal from just outside the circle drew a mistake from the QLD keeper and an own goal was awarded. Less than 3 minutes had elapsed and we were 2 up. Such was the speed of Noel's work that the bench players had not yet settled back into their armchairs, awaiting the usual silver service of tea and scones while the rest of the team were out on the field in battle.
However, the smiles were soon removed as Queensland, under the expert coaching of Alan Sheehy, forced a turnover from a botched clearance and won a penalty. QLD converted and had us under pressure with their strong midfield work.
Noel scored another goal early in the second half with a sublime finish at the end of a very quick right-side attack. We were on top again and controlled the tempo and possession for a long period, but without any further success. As the minutes ticked away, we seemed to turn off the concentration and again allowed QLD to penetrate, winning a second penalty corner, which they deftly converted. 3-2 with 1 minute 45 remaining. Another turnover inside the last minute saw the maroons again in our circle. Manager Bob, Physio Jan, and the players on the bench for the last ten minutes all needed oxygen after yet another turnover with 34 seconds to play. Thankfully, Rick McConnell and Bruce Snape had great composure to stop the attack and clear the ball down-field.
Phil Garred was unable to play afar dislocating his hip against Victoria. He should be fine to play against WA on Wednesday evening.
Awards - QLD - Noel French; NSW - Gil Voysey
The match promised to be one of the toughest of the tournament given the Victorian's impressive showings in there past three outings. Playing conditions were fine and sunny, but the setting sun on the western side of the field posed more problems than the opponents in the second half.
We started strongly and forced a number of penalty corners in the first half - none of which were converted. The Victorians adopted a defensive team structure and played with crammed midfield. It worked well to stifle our attack.
Neither side was able to find a way to have clear shots on goal during the second half and the scoreless result was probably fair to both teams.
Awards - VIC - Keith Jervis; NSW - Bob Banks.
In a rare, but fabulous arrangement, both teams attended a dinner at the Greenlees bowing Club in honour of the Late Mr Laurie Lewis, father of prominent victorian player, Geoff. Laurie was a long term supporter of hockey in Melbourne and never missed a match. Geoff and his family donated a trophy to perpetuate Laurie's memory. The trophy is to be played for at each national championships in the 60s VIC vs. NSW match. The first winner of the trophy was NSW skipper, Bruce Snape.
GEOFF LEWIS AND BRUCE SNAPE
Today saw another hot, dry, and windy day. Playing conditions at Cintra were particularly difficult due to the swirling dust blown into players eyes.
In general a proliferation of tall players from WAC present a formidable defence for opponents, and so it was today. NSW attacked from the outset, spending much of the first half in the WAC half of the field. It took some time to break through the 11 man defence. Some fine stickwork from Noel French saw him beat several defenders along the back line before slipping a perfect pass to Gene Skinner who slotted home the goal.
Cranston and Snape went on many raids into the circle but found the WAC goalkeeper "Drifty" a tenacious defender. Cranston converted a penalty stroke, through French being crudely hacked as he was shooting for goal. Snape completed the scoring for the first half when he neatly finished off a neat penalty corner zig-zag move.
The second half saw a similar pattern of play with our players constantly on the attack. Gene Skinner scored a great individual goal as did Bruce Snape in the closing stages. Even though we won by a comfortable margin there was room for improvement in our play. All too often we played down the centre of the field, right into the WAC strength, ignoring the wide open spaces down the flanks.
Impressively, we again conceded no penalty corners and recorded a third clean sheet!
AWARDS - WAC - BRUCE SNAPE;
NSW - GARY THOMAS.
DAY 2 - NSW 4 ACT 0
As morning cloud burned off to produce another hot day we took the field against ACT. Initially wary of our opposition - the memory of a 1-1 draw in Hobart still fresh - our skipper adamantly proclaimed that a dominate display from us today was not negotiable! ACT, in turn, had every right to feel confident. Their team boasted the inclusion of the great Brian Pallister, of Steve Jakiwczyk, and the inimitable Denis Lovell.
The bench suggested, as the opening whistle trailed away, that an early goal by us was necessary to make a statement about our intent. Our players delivered from the outset. Dennis Cranston and Bruce Snape attacked aggressively down the right flank. A further raid saw a sublime pass from Bruce to Rusty Clucas who rocketed the ball into the top left hand corner of the net. 1-0 after 5 minutes and clearly dominating possession and field position.
Our midfield gave the ACT players very few options to start an attack. The close marking of Lovell and Jakiwczyk bottled-up our opponents and the attacking raids continued. Unfortunately, as in our previous match, we did not convert the many opportunities that were created. Midway through the first half Ray Northwood turned a waist-high shot at goal, from your scribe, into the net with a superb piece of positional play and skill.
The pattern was established! The aggressive raids continued throughout the second half, but now the 30 degree heat became a factor in the play. We earned many penalty corners, Bruce converting one of them with a huge drive into the corner of the net. The goal scoring was completed by Ray Northwood after Bruce cleverly dispossessed Denis Lovell on a 16 yard clearance and slipped a neat pass to Ray.
Overall another good team performance, and all our opponents taking note.
Awards: ACT - Russell Clucas; NSW - Dannie Cammileri.
Other matches - The appearance of David Peebles gave the Victorians leadership and drive, qualities that had been lacking in their drubbing by WA on Monday. Peebles lit up the Vics and they were comfortable 4-0 winners over SA.
WA beat QLD 2-0 and WAC had the bye.
NSW has a rest day tomorrow and play WAC at Concord on Thursday at 11.30am