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10 July 2019
By SIMON KING
Four Wimmera hockey players spent last week in Melbourne participating in Junior State Championships, the pinnacle underage hockey competition in Victoria.
The championships involve teams representing four country and six metropolitan zones in boys and girls divisions in three age groups.
Wimmera Hockey Association falls within North West Lightning’s zone, but there is opportunity for players who do not gain selection in this team to be available to represent other zones if a vacancy exists.
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Kai Dodson won selection as one of two goalkeepers in the under-13 North West Lightning squad.
In the under-18 age group, Tom Roberts represented the Lightning, Cade Dodson played for the South West Eagles and Stuart Hallett, who has been training in Melbourne, joined the metropolitan Southern Sharks. All four play with Horsham club.
Each team played seven games over four days, starting with pool games and culminating with a final or play-off game to determine final placings.
The under-13 North West Lightning team finished in a credible fourth place, after winning four of their first six games, which qualified them for the play-off for third place, although it narrowly lost this game to the North East Country Knights by two goals. Horsham Hurricanes team-mates Stuart Hallett and Cade Dodson became opponents for their opening game of this tournament when the Metro Sharks and South West Eagles clashed.
Dodson’s Eagles finished ahead with a 2-1 win.
The Eagles won a further two of their first six games, qualifying for the fifth-place play-off game.
They played out a three-all draw in this encounter with Central Metro Flames, who claimed fifth place courtesy of a better record earlier in the tournament.
Metro Sharks’ only victory for the week came in their play-off game for ninth and 10th places where they defeated Gippsland Bulls by six goals.
Tom Roberts’ Lightning team finished the competition eighth after it lost a seventh-place play-off to North East Country Knights 1-3.
Roberts played in all seven games and converted a penalty corner in a six-goal win over the Bulls.
One of the Wimmera’s leading umpires, Caleb Baldock from Dimboola, officiated in several games during the week.
Hallett also took up the opportunity to umpire around his playing commitments, gaining valuable experience at a higher level and receiving feedback from more senior umpires.
The entire July 10, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!