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    TUSSLE: Warrack Hoops’ Marcus Williamson controls the ball while Nhill’s Craig Schulz tries to block his progress. Picture: SIMON KING 

Hockey teams lock in finals spots

By Simon King 

With three rounds remaining before Wimmera Hockey Association finals, only a couple of ladder positions across the three competitions remain in doubt.

Results of the open clash between Kaniva Cobras and Dimboola Burras on Saturday is the most significant in round 13.

The Burras find themselves needing to win all remaining matches to have any chance of progressing to finals; while the Cobras also need to keep winning if they are to maintain their tenuous grip on second place.

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The Dimboola team is coming off a solid workout against competition-leading Yanac Tigers last round, and the Cobras are in good form, having defeated Horsham Hurricanes. 

But the critical factor in this encounter will be if the Burras can put their best team on the field. 

As they showed on Saturday, they can push the competition’s best, but when they are missing several key players, they become vulnerable.

Clashes between the Tigers and Warrack Hoops are always skilful displays, and while it will take a significant effort for the Hoops to inflict the Tigers’ first defeat for the season, this will be an entertaining match on the Hoops’ home ground.

Horsham Hurricanes will need to take the winless Nhill Rangers seriously as they attempt to confirm their place in the top four. 

While the Nhill side can no longer qualify for the finals, it has put in some inspiring displays and could easily still cause an upset or two.

The most interest in the women’s competition will be in the Horsham Jets and Nhill Thunderbirds match-up where, although these two are locked into third and four places on the ladder, the order in which they fill these spots is still in doubt. If nothing else, a win here will give the victors an advantage when they next meet in the semi-finals.

The other match will see Yanac take on Warracknabeal, which current ladder positions suggest will be a win for the former team, but on their home ground, the latter team should perform well.

Apart from any dramatic form reversals, the order of teams on the under-16 ladder is unlikely to change before finals, but this will not diminish the importance of remaining matches.

Yanac Warriors are undefeated and yet to concede a goal, and it is the Warrack Revengers who will be the next to attempt to blemish this record, and Horsham Bombers and Nhill Leopards will be looking to gain an advantage over an opponent they might meet in the finals.

Round 12 results: 

Open: Warrack Hoops 3 (Goals, M. Williamson 2, F. Eilola; best, M. Williamson, J. Smith, F. Eilola) d Nhill Rangers 1 (D. Schwarz; D. Reichelt, C. Rowe, L. Marra). Kaniva Cobras 4 (M. Goodwin 2, J. Clark, Z. Simpson; Z. Simpson, J. Clark, M. Goodwin) d Horsham Hurricanes 1 (R. Duggan; D. Jochinke, S. Hoffman, T. Leffler). Yanac Tigers 2 (T. Alexander, B. Alexander; B. Alexander, T. Alexander, J. Honeyman) d Dimboola Burras 0 (C. Youngson, J. Harris, D. Danisch).

Women: Nhill Thunderbirds 1 (S. Keller; C. Kessler, K. Clark, N. Kuhnell) d Warracknabeal 0 (B. McMaster, C. Hadzig, L. Eilola). Kaniva Women 1 (Q. Pearse; S. Williams, L. Stimson, Q. Pearse) d Horsham Jets 0 (H. Werner, R. Creek, A. Morrow).

Under-16: Nhill Leopards 4 (I. Deckert 2, J. Clark, B. Clark; O. Bone, I. Deckert, S. Rowe) d Warrack Revengers 2 (N. Eilola, L. Nuske; L. Nuske, S. Williamson, C. Bennett). Horsham Bombers 3 (L. Simmons, T. Batchelor, H. Mackereth; T. Batchelor, L. Simmons, A. Heal) d Kaniva Raiders 0 (C. White, L. Krelle, F. Dodson).

Under-12 development program: Nhill Bandits 1 (B. Clark; encouragement award, H. Albrecht, N. Reichelt) v Warracknabeal Avengers 2 (M. Bentley, S. Williamson). Horsham Black Hawks 0 (encouragement award, K. Holland) v Kaniva Rampager 0 (encouragement award, C. Bedford). Dimboola Kookaburras 3 (J. Ward 2, B. Schwarz; encouragement award, J. Ward) v Yanac Lowan Stars 1 (H. Zanker; encouragement award, H. Zanker).

The entire August 3, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!