Wests' hard work pays off in mid-season final
WINNING any final is a satisfying experience for the team and coach.
However, when it's over the competition frontrunners, the victory is more pleasing.
That's the case for the Wests A-grade women who surprised runaway leaders Hancock Brothers 2-1 in Sunday's mid-season (President's Cup) final.
"It was more a good reward for the hard work they have been doing,'' Wests co-coach Brent Nicholls said.
"It was just good to get a bit of a gauge on where we are at.''
Wests equalised 1-1 through a goal by Brent's wife and co-captain Amy, after Natalie Davison scored for Hancocks.
Wests co-captain Eden Jackat struck the winning goal off a rebound with three minutes to go.
Nicholls said the result showed how well Wests had come together as a group and can handle pressure.
"We played reasonably well and got the result,'' he said.
However, the experienced mentor - assisted by Steve Rogers this season - is keen to see how his team backs up against Hancocks in Sunday afternoon's Ipswich competition rematch at Raceview.
"Everyone was happy. But the big prize is at the end of the year,'' he said.
Wests goalkeeper Tarni Iszlaub received praise for making key saves at the right time.
Nicholls was quick to highlight the achievement of his squad of 20. "As a group, we are playing really well,'' he said.
Fresh from her latest Queensland Country team selection, Hancocks captain Sara Rogers said Wests capitalised on their recent progress.
"It was a good game of hockey,'' Rogers said after her team's first loss of the season.
"We played well.
"We've been pretty disjointed coming into the last round even. We've had players in and out, overseas, etc.''
Hancocks were without senior players Justine Parkes and Caitlin Sippel on Sunday and it was the first game back in a month for Australian Schoolgirls representative Layla Eleison.
"But Wests played well. They deserved to win,'' Rogers said.
"Wests had their strongest team out there and Amy Chalk (Nicholls) from short corners is pretty dangerous.''
Rogers was thrilled to be chosen in the Queensland Country team along with another Ipswich competition player Rita Boyd. Ipswich-based Jade Emblem, who plays in the Toowoomba competition, also made the state side.
The Ipswich men's competition players selected were Kai Douglas, Chris Mantell, Aaron O'Beirne, Jay Pavitt and Mark Pocock, with Steve Bayliss as a shadow.
They are preparing for the Australian Country titles in Wollongong from August 8-15.
President's Cup finals
- Men's A Grade - Hancock Brothers 3 (A McClelland, J Davies, N Smith) d Easts 2 (S Bayliss, M Llewelyn).
- Women's A Grade - Wests 2 (A Nicholls, E Jackat) d Hancock Brothers 1 (Natalie Davison).