Mt Barker win men’s decider, Redbacks women end long drought

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Mt Barker have capped a terrific season by winning the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association men’s A-grade premiership after defeating Spencer Park 3-0 in tonight’s grand final.

Joining the men’s A-grade competition at the beginning of the season, Mt Barker finished top of the ladder but were made to work hard for their title by a young, counter-attacking Park side.

It took Mt Barker just one and a half minutes to open the scoring as Nic Slade smartly converted a penalty corner.

Park began to work their way into the game and very nearly scored from a penalty corner themselves soon after.

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Mt Barker though continued to attack as Slade almost had an early double and then Park were forced to defend frantically on the verge of half time with successive penalty corners attempts.

Park, without key playmaker Jack Dawson who went to hospital with a back injury, defended with their lives for much of the second half until Hayden McMahon delivered a dagger to the Park hearts with a penalty corner conversion with just under seven minutes to play.

Reece Curwen had showed his class throughout the decider and was rewarded for his fine performance with a late goal to seal Mt Barker’s triumph, and he also won the best on ground medal.

Meanwhile earlier in the women’s A-grade grand final, North Albany broke a 17-year premiership drought as they claimed a 2-1 win over Manypeaks.

North Albany after winning the 2017 LGSHA women's A-grade premiership.
Camera IconNorth Albany after winning the 2017 LGSHA women's A-grade premiership. Credit: Albany Advertiser

After a cautious first 15 minutes from both sides it was Redbacks who opened the scoring, youngster MacKenzie Poulish getting around Peaks goalkeeper Marisa Edwards to score midway through the first half.

Peaks almost equalised right on half time but Renae Parson’s shot couldn’t find the deflection into the back of the net.

Talented midfielder Carina Cronje doubled Redbacks advantage just five minutes into the second half when she produced a devastating strike from the top of the circle in a penalty corner.

Peaks continued to press for that elusive goal but were snuffed out time and time again by the Redbacks defence, led by goalie Evie Milne.

With 45 seconds left in the match defender Gemma Pyle finally broke the drought for Peaks, converting their second penalty corner but it mattered little as Redbacks prevailed 2-1 to end their run of three straight losing grand finals.

Milne was awarded best on ground medal for her sterling performance in goals.

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