Magic Pass Sets Up A Fairytale End To Season
A “killer” pass from Alison Lawer to team-mate Melissa Simpson was enough to win Fairy Meadow the Illawarra Women’s Hockey Association division one grand final at Unanderra last Saturday.
After a scoreless and even first half, Lawer smashed the ball through from near halfway to Simpson, who deflected it off the post and into the net.
The goal gave Fairy Meadow a 1-0 lead which it clung to until the final whistle.
Earlier Deanna Thirlwell had made great saves off shots from Vikki Muller and Simpson.
Tracey Lawer had done the same for Fairy Meadow off a strike from Sheree Delbanco as both sides battled for ascendancy.
Simpson, Jo Lackenby, Michelle Cheetham, Sonia Owens and Natalie Radburn had outstanding games for the winners, while Thirlwell, Karen Tiek and Jenene Gilbert worked tirelessly for Figtree.
Fairy Meadow also finished the season with the division two trophy, but on a shared basis with Dapto after the sides had finished extra time locked at one-all.
Tracey Hurt had put Dapto ahead with four minutes to play in the first half with a deflection off the post, before Kathy Bill produced a magnificent solo effort from near halfway to even the scores.
Seven-and-a-half minutes each way in extra time failed to add to the scoreboard and joint premiers were declared.
Unanderra celebrated after taking the division three decider with a 2-1 defeat of Saints.
Saints grabbed the lead through a Kathy Hall deflection goal in the first half, but Unanderra evened up through Jacquie Thomson from a corner with one minute to play before the break.
Thomson then hit the winner 10 minutes into the second half, a goal Saints couldn’t peg back.
Interesting to talk to South African women’s coach Gene Muller after the Proteas beat a brave Illawarra invitational side (10-0) at Lindsay Maynes last Sunday.
Muller was delighted with the hit-out, but wasn’t so chuffed about returning to the Olympic village last night to prepare for South Africa’s opening match against Germany on Sunday.
Muller’s mob arrived in Wollongong on September 6, trained for a few days before booking into the Olympic village.
“We’ve been in the village for two days already, we stayed there but we decided we didn’t want to stay there for too long,” Muller said. “We wanted to train outside the chaos of the village.”
Ranked fifth in the world after the last Champions Trophy, South Africa could be dark horse at the Olympics, especially now centre-forward Pietie Coetzee is nearing full fitness.
Coetzee played for only 20 minutes against Illawarra but still had time to show she was a special player.
Muller said her availability was vital to his team’s medal chances, even though making the second round and “having fun” were the Proteas’ main aims at their first Games.
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