Dynamic duo fly flag for WA

Cameron Newbold, ALBANY ADVERTISERAlbany Advertiser
State under-21 hockey representatives Mel Baldwin and Hayden Walker, both of Albany.
Camera IconState under-21 hockey representatives Mel Baldwin and Hayden Walker, both of Albany. Credit: Albany Advertiser

WA's under-21 men's side pulled off an impressive 2-1 victory over New South Wales to finish on top of their pool and book a place in the crossover finals of the Under-21 Men's Australian Hockey Championships in Canberra yesterday.

Albany product Hayden Walker, one of two goalkeepers in the WA team, was substituted into the game in the 16th minute and made a number of strong saves to help deny a potent NSW attack.

WA went a goal ahead when Brandon Gibbs found the back of the net in the second quarter, but NSW hit back in the third period, with Jack Elliott's 31st-minute field goal levelling scores.

Soon after, Ross Hall converted a penalty stroke for WA to pinch back the lead and it remained the difference as WA won their third pool match to remain undefeated at the tournament.

On Monday, Walker came into the game in the 46th minute to play a hand in WA's 1-0 win over South Australia.

In their opening pool match against Australian Capital Territory on Sunday, WA were simply too strong, winning 8-3, with Walker not being used off the bench.

WA now progress to the top-four pool stage, where they will compete for a medal, starting today.

Meanwhile, at the Under-21 Women's Australian Hockey Championships in Tasmania, local hockey product Mel Baldwin has played a part in WA qualifying for the medal rounds.

Baldwin, who is playing as a defender, was substituted on in the seventh minute of their opening clash against ACT on Sunday, which WA won 3-2.

Howvever, the talented teenager had to sit out their 5-0 win over Tasmania on Monday because of team rotation.

She did play in yesterday's 4-0 loss to NSW, coming on again in the seventh minute.

WA finished second in pool B behind NSW and progress to the next stage of the competition, which starts today.

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