BUSY WORKER: Bellbowrie captain Kiah Ahern challenges for the ball in Saturday’s rain-affected game.
BUSY WORKER: Bellbowrie captain Kiah Ahern challenges for the ball in Saturday’s rain-affected game. Kate Czerny

Strikers eyeing win over Thistles to maintain surge to finals

EXCITEMENT is building in the Bellbowrie women's camp as the club's A-grade team challenges for a spot in this year's Ipswich competition finals.

Coming from 1-0 down to beat Toowoomba Red Lion 3-1 in last Saturday's rainy conditions bolstered Bellbowrie's hopes.

The Strikers increased their fourth spot advantage by four points after Norths drew 1-1 with Toowoomba Past High.

Rangeville Toowoomba beat Hancocks 3-2, Swifts drew 3-3 with Toowoomba Norths and Thistles lost 2-1 to Toowoomba Newtown to complete the combined competition series.

"Being in fourth is pretty exciting for the whole club," coach Rodger Grulke said.

"It's been quite a few years of effort from the girls and Joe (former coach Joe Norris).

"They are quite excited with the prospect (of playing finals hockey)."

However, the experienced mentor knows his team must keep winning in the final round to earn a finals spot.

That starts with their next game against Thistles on Saturday at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.

"There's nothing between Norths and us and you only need to falter a couple of times and next minute you are on your heels," Grulke said.

Another seasoned campaigner Lisa Purcell is also helping out on the field.

Purcell scored Bellbowrie's second goal last Saturday after captain Kiah Ahern netted first.

Teenager McKenna Evans-Doherty sealed the win with a penalty stroke.

Grulke said Purcell inspired the younger players around her.

"Having her there with her ball control and decision-making just adds an extra dimension to our team," Grulke said. "She just knows what to say in terms of things that are happening on the field and how to go about it."

Bellbowrie's team will be strengthened further when Katie Range and dual-registered Nicole Yearbury are available.



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