Players were presented with a beautiful day for hockey as Waverley hosted Doncaster in Round 4 of the Hockey Victoria Premier League Competition.
The Men kicked off proceedings taking on a strong Doncaster outfit who after the first 5 games, are consolidated in the top 4. This didn’t phase the Panther outfit, applying relentless pressure on their opponents. It didn’t take long for their hard work to be rewarded with a turnover in the middle of the park seeing a strong counter attack finished with James Knee slotting the ball bottom left just a few minutes into the game.
The match was played at a fast and furious pace, and after pushing their way forward, Doncaster capitalised from a PC flick taking a deflection that wrong footed Waverley’s Tom Scott and the scores were locked at 1 all.
Waverley resettled and they continued to pressure Doncaster generating multiple attacks with some fancy stick work by striker Nick Steffens, earning a penalty corner. Fresh from winning the National U21 championships, Damon Steffens stepped up and zing the ball past a swinging postman to give the Panthers the ascendency once again.
Half time saw the boys regroup with some direct instructions by the coaching unit, and they went out hunting a victory. A fast and furious game ensued as both teams had chances to hit the scoreboard. Lachlan Steinford stepped up on a Penalty corner deceiving and slipping the ball between his legs to extend the lead.
To finish off the match and put it beyond doubt, a piece of individual brilliance by James Knee saw him slot a thomma top right after spearheading the attack 50 yards out from goal. A great victory by the boys and reward for a full 70 minute performance.
The Ladies took the pitch keen to follow on from the Men as they faced last year’s Premiers. Keen to continue on their second half performance from last week against Southern, the girls had a focus to hit the ground running. Doncaster however were keen to make their mark and managed to find the back of the net early taking the lead.
That began a sustained period of pressure for the Panthers as Doncaster maintained possession in their front half, peppering the net and testing out Waverley’s keeper Indianna Robertson but she was up to the challenge. But a strong Waverley defence finally succumb to the barrage allowing Doncaster to slot their second and take that lead into half time.
Coach Rebecca Thompson eyeballed the group at half time, demanding more from them, asking them to take the game on and want the ball. The girls responded in the second half and started to generate some quality ball movement and sustained attack. Although earning multiple penalty corners and goal scoring opportunities, the girls just couldn’t find the back of the net and after not making the most of their efforts, Doncaster put the final nail in the coffin converting a penalty corner to seal the match with a 3-0 victory.
Whilst not the result the girls were after, signs of continued development and growth ensure that there are some exciting times ahead for this group.