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    CONTROL: Nhill Thunderbirds’ Chyna Kessler manoeuvres the ball away from Kaniva’s Querida Pearse under the watchful eye of the umpire. Picture: SIMON KING

Test for top hockey teams at Warracknabeal

By Simon King

After playing the two opening rounds of Wimmera Hockey Association’s season on artificial turf at Dimboola, round three will test players’ ability to adapt to different surfaces.

Round three will be on grass at Warracknabeal’s Anzac Park, so form from the first two rounds might not translate directly to this week’s match-ups.

This round will feature a play-off between the two teams that would have played in the 2021 grand final had it been able to go ahead, with undefeated Yanac Tigers taking on Warrack Hoops, who are yet to register a win this season.

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Given their contrasting starts to the season, this game might not be as close as many of their previous encounters over the past 15 years when they have played off in the season decider no less than 11 times together.

Injury to several key Hoops players is testing the depth of their playing roster, in contrast with the Tigers’ formidable combination of experience and youth, which looks capable of extending their reign as one of the leading open division teams in the Wimmera that stretches back to the mid-1980s.

However, regardless of their relative starts to the season, these two always put on an entertaining and skilful display of hockey, and nothing less is expected this week.

In their first two matches this season, Horsham Hurricanes have shown glimpses of the form they have promised for the past several seasons but have been unable to deliver consistently. 

The Hurricanes were not disgraced in their loss to the Tigers on Saturday and will be eager to demonstrate their improvement since last season with a win over Nhill Rangers.

Dimboola Burras will be out to maintain their current undefeated record when they take on Kaniva Cobras, who will be equally determined to build on their one-goal win last round.

A win and a draw in their first two matches has Horsham Jets in second place on the women’s ladder, and despite taking on currently fifth-placed Nhill Thunderbirds, they will have to play at their best if they are to preserve their undefeated status. 

The Nhill team has only had one game so far this season after sitting out the first round with the bye, so its loss to Kaniva at the weekend might not be a great indication of its form, and it might be capable of scoring its first win if the Jets do not take it seriously.

In under-16 competition, Yanac Warriors will take on home team Warrack Revengers and Horsham Bombers will play Nhill Leopards, with recent form suggesting the Warriors and Bombers will start as favourites in their respective games.

Round-two results

Open – Dimboola Burras 2 (Goals – C. Baldock, Z. Collard; Best – J. Harris, D. Danisch, B. Tischler) d Warrack Hoops 1 (H. Johns; H. Johns, J. Smith, C. Bardell). Kaniva Cobras 1 (B. Miller; M. Goodwin, C. Beattie, B. Lovett) d Nhill Rangers 0 (C. Williams, H. Pearse, O. Williams). Yanac Tigers 6 (B. Alexander 3, T. Alexander, N. Alexander, R. Croot; T. Alexander, B. Alexander, S. Alexander) d Horsham Hurricanes 0 (T. Leffler, P. Mackereth, S. Hoffman).

Women – Horsham Jets 1 (R. Creek; H. Werner, E. Morrow, R. Creek, R. Marr) drew with Yanac Women 1 (S. Hedt; E. Alexander, C. Smith, A. Farmers, S. Hedt). Kaniva Women 4 (J. Wallis, L. Stimson, Q. Pearse, N. White; O. Williams, J. Wallis, L. Stimson) d Nhill Thunderbirds 0 (K. Clark, C. Kessler, S. Walker).

Under-16s – Nhill Leopards 4 (I. Deckert 3, S. Rowe; I. Deckert, D. Clark, J. Clark) d Kaniva Raiders 1 (C. White; C. White, L. Krelle, L. Williams). Yanac Warriors 3 (R. Croot 2, Archie Zanker; H. Pedie, A. Farmers, L. Cramer, Asher Zanker) d Horsham Bombers 0 (L. Simmons, T. Batchelor, K. Dodson, S. Schwarz).

Under-12 development program – Dimboola Kookaburras 1 (C. Elliott) v Warrack Avengers 1 (H. Lomax). Horsham Black Hawks 2 (D. Toet, R. Knoop; encouragement award R. Knoop) v Yanac Lowan Stars 2 (H. Zanker, A. Pedie). Nhill Bandits 3 (J. Toet 2, H. Toet) v Kaniva Rampagers 1 (J. Beattie; encouragement award  R. Williams).

The entire May 11, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!