VITAL GAMES: A Thistles player controls the play during a recent A-grade match against Wests at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
VITAL GAMES: A Thistles player controls the play during a recent A-grade match against Wests at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. David Nielsen

Easts Tigers hungry for more title success

IPSWICH'S men's A grade fixtures return to a normal format this weekend as the cross-city competition with Toowoomba is over for another year.

It was great to see Ipswich's Easts Tigers win the trophy again.

Questions are still being asked about the scheduling of this important fixture as both teams were lacking key players which really took away from what could have been a great game.

All four Ipswich sides are now looking to build momentum leading into the finals series which is only weeks away.

Today at 2.30pm, Norths take on Hancocks.

Many would expect Norths to run out winners easily in this game. However, they are likely to be short of their Brisbane stars against a Hancocks side which has been steadily improving.

Hancocks are lacking a frontline goalkeeper after the mid-season departure of Ben "Muay Thai" Sawyers.

Norths will prove too classy, running away 5-2 victors.

Tomorrow at 4pm, Easts take on Wests.

Everyone has been waiting for Wests to show the competition they are legitimate title contenders.

Last week they matched motors with a full strength Norths outfit, going down narrowly 3-2.

Wests look a much-improved side over the past three weeks with former Ipswich coach Nathan "Whip" Hooper taking over the coaching reins while Todd "Socks Up" Watson has been sunning himself on a beach on holidays.

Many people have commented on the recent form of Lucas "Ball Magnet" Alchin and the return of Aaron "Azza" Gotting, who seem to be relishing their positions in the team under Hooper's guidance.

Gotting had been a notable absence in the A-grade side for Wests this year.

No one can question that Watson is still the premier centre half in the competition and this will assist the Magpies come finals time when he reaches peak fitness.

However, tomorrow, the Tigers will pounce in this game, romping to a 6-1 win.

 

Key women's matches

THE women's combined competition is in its final weekend with key fixtures for the intercity title and overall Ipswich season.

Hancocks have secured their spot in the combined comp final with consistent hockey that has seen them build an eight-point lead over their closest Ipswich rival Swifts.

Who they will play is anyone's guess with Past High (16), Red Lion (15), Newtown (14) and Norths Toowoomba (14) all still in the running for that final spot.

Newtown seem to have the best chance of winning this weekend.

Newtown should account for Thistles 4-2, with Norths Ipswich scraping a 1-1 draw against Past High in Toowoomba. Bellbowrie are likely to account for Red Lion 2-0 today at 4pm in Ipswich and Swifts should be able to win over Norths Toowoomba 5-3 tomorrow at 2.30pm.

The only match that doesn't have any bearing over who makes up the final is the Hancocks v Rangeville game at 5.30pm today.

Elyse "Smollers" Smolenski will prove to be the star for Hancocks when she bags a double. Hancocks to come away 4-1 winners.



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