LGSHA coach Darren Parkes says men’s senior team can build from encouraging 2021 campaign

Cameron Newbold & Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
The Lower Great Southern Hockey Association men's division one team.
Camera IconThe Lower Great Southern Hockey Association men's division one team. Credit: Beck Gallimore

Lower Great Southern Hockey Association coach Darren Parkes believes his side can build on their strong finish to the CBH Group Men’s Country Championships in Perth over the next few years.

The men’s side fell short in their bid to win the division one title after going down 2-1 in the grand final on Monday, but Parkes believes there is plenty of upside for the LGSHA given their strong performance at the back end of the three-day tournament.

The LGSHA went through the round-robin matches without a win and finished last of the four teams in division one, but bounced back to defeat top-ranked side Eastern Goldfields in the semifinal and took it up to Geraldton in the decider. “Hopefully this is a stepping stone for next year and years to come,” Parkes said.

“It was not a good start to the tournament but the finish was good.”

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Up against Geraldton in the grand final, the LGSHA conceded two goals in a matter of minutes in the second term and were never able to recover despite a spirited final quarter effort.

Jake Prunster scored from a penalty corner before Geraldton’s advantage was doubled when Ryan Dix worked his way into the circle and managed to get past LGSHA goalkeeper Heath Cremasco to net a smart field goal.

LGSHA struggled to find an equaliser for much of the second half but they were able to hit back when Parkes slammed home a penalty corner conversion with three minutes to play in the fourth. However, that lapse in the second term proved costly as they went down 2-1.

Leander McQuade was terrific in the final and player-coach Parkes was also influential.

LGSHA player-coach Darren Parkes.
Camera IconLGSHA player-coach Darren Parkes. Credit: Laurie Benson

“We let in the short corner goal and we dropped our heads a bit,” Parkes said.

“We scrambled for a bit and then let in the second goal. “We couldn’t find our feet unfortunately.

“In the fourth quarter we scored the goal, we were up and firing and lively but it was a little bit too late.”

Tim Metcalfe (hamstring) and Hudson Field (foot) didn’t play in the semifinal win but returned to take the field in the decider. “The way we were connecting throughout the field improved and in the semifinal everything clicked for us,” Parkes said.

“Geraldton look like they have been playing together and had the same team for a while, they were a sharp unit.

“Everyone really dug deep, especially with those two injuries we got.”

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