Redbacks sink Park in annual memorial match

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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North Albany's Sophie McDonald controls the ball ahead of Spencer Park's Chloe Westerberg.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Sophie McDonald controls the ball ahead of Spencer Park's Chloe Westerberg. Credit: Laurie Benson

North Albany asserted their dominance over Spencer Park with a crushing victory in the annual Jo Burling Memorial Game on Saturday afternoon, putting them ahead in the ledger with their eighth win in the special fixture.

Introduced in 2000, the match honours Albany hockey stalwart Jo Burling, who lost her battle with breast cancer.

It was the highlight of the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association’s Cancer Awareness Round on Saturday.

Redbacks conceded the first goal in the 19th edition of the memorial but responded quickly to take full control of the match on their way to a convincing 6-1 triumph.

North Albany captain Kelly Burlikowski with the Jo Burling Memorial Shield.
Camera IconNorth Albany captain Kelly Burlikowski with the Jo Burling Memorial Shield. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Park and Redbacks were level on seven wins going into the match but the result gives Redbacks back-to-back victories, while Park have not won the shield since 2013 after 2015 and 2016 were draws.

Park, wearing pink shirts for the occasion, began strongly as youngster Jorja Williamson slammed home the opening goal of the game from the top of the circle approaching the 15-minute mark.

The goal sparked Redbacks into action, however, as Beck Gallimore converted a penalty corner.

Goals to strikers Cionne Fage and Parris Kittow within 60 seconds of each other helped Redbacks surge 3-1 ahead by half-time.

Park were doing plenty of defending and that continued in the second half, with Redbacks needing less than three minutes to add to their tally as Kittow found the back of the net again.

Spencer Park’s Sarah Hearle and North Albany’s Cionne Fage contest.
Camera IconSpencer Park’s Sarah Hearle and North Albany’s Cionne Fage contest. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Gallimore appeared to have scored a double of her own but it was waved away. But it did little to stop Redbacks’ momentum as talented teenager Tallulah Gouldthorp converted their second penalty corner of the half.

Redbacks won 10 penalty corners in the match to emphasise their dominance in possession, and energetic midfielder Sophie McDonald and Fage linked up in the final 90 seconds to secure the 6-1 win.

Gallimore and McDonald controlled the midfield, while Gouldthorp was also impressive for the winners.

North Albany's Tullulah Gouldthorp gets through traffic.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Tullulah Gouldthorp gets through traffic. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Williamson worked hard throughout for Park and teammate Georgina Lilford also had some important moments.

In the other round 16 women’s A-grade fixture, Tigers and Mt Barker played out a scoreless draw.

Meanwhile in the Albany Retravision LGSHA men’s A-grade competition, a slick Manypeaks outfit made light work of a depleted Mt Barker in round 11.

Peaks were relentless in the goal circle, trouncing Mt Barker 9-1, with Luke Ray, Kieran Howie and Taylor Pocock all finishing with doubles.

Redbacks beatRedbacks Park in the other men’s clash 6-1 to remain in second place.

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