Draw for men, win for women

Jason House expertly avoids two Queechy players in Saturday’s 3-3 draw. Picture courtesy of Amelia Coombs.

GNL. The Rocky Cape Tavern Saints went head-to-head with the Queechy Penguins on Saturday, looking to make amends after their last encounter.

Queechy took control from the first whistle, scoring their first goal.

Smithton re-grouped quickly and worked themselves into attack. But Queechy broke Smithton’s defence again late in the half taking a 2-0 lead into the break.

After the break, Ben Revell and Sam Porteus-Smith pressured the Penguin defenders until their hard work was rewarded with a penalty corner. Jason House made a deflection look like a training drill and the Saints were on the board.

Encouraged by their first score, Smithton went back into attack. Joe Coombes worked hard to pick up a loose ball from the centre and slap across to Daniel Thorp, sliding at full stretch to expertly deflect the goal around the goal keeper and level the score at 2-2.

Queechy, were determined to regain their lead penetrating Smithton’s defence but goalie Dylan Jago dived high and right for a glove save adding another highlight to his season reel. Queechy kept the pressure on the Saints until a direct shot from a penalty corner eluded Smithton and Queechy drew ahead once more.

Finally Smithton took control of the ball and an overhead pass – from Nick Stokes in defence – found its target in the forward line and the Saints strikers were able to force another penalty corner.

Richard Cornish deflected the initial strike and Smithton levelled scores again at 3-3. The siren sounded and the two sides split the points.

Smithton will be happy with their encouraging performance as they look ahead to another home game this weekend against Tamar Churinga.

For the women, a must-win match to keep their finals chances alive saw them come out firing against their opposition, Devonport Spirits.

Last time the two met, the Saints won the sought-after Vicki Bennett Cup, but the Saints knew they had to be on their toes.

Starting out strong from the whistle and controlling things up forward were Connie Perry and Kira Johnston, who showcased their talent by getting the ball around the Spirits’ backs to find Paige Ferguson, Kahla Enniss and the fast running Caicie Keogh waiting in the circle. Numerous corners were awarded for their strength and determination but none were able to be converted.

A breakaway in play saw Devonport pounce on the ball and find the net first. They managed to maintain this lead heading into the half-time break.

With the home crowd cheering them on, the Saints once again controlled the majority of play in the second half and through some great transferring down back by Mel Gray and Ali Oates play was opened up.

Half backs Bek Lardner and Abbie Hite were working overtime combining with Alex Mainwaring to eliminate players in their path.

Kira Johnson was awarded a goal after receiving a great pass from Kylie Monson.

After some strong passages of play, a short corner was awarded. Two direct shots at goals were stopped by the Spirits defence only to be rebounded strongly by all Saints players earning another.

A strong push out was trapped by best-on-ground performer Mainwaring, passed to Lardner who then found veteran Sonia Poke who didn’t disappoint – scoring to seal a 2-1 victory.

Next week the Saints have yet another week off due to Launceston-based team Tamar Churinga forfeiting their game against Smithton for the second time this season. The Saints will then take on in-form South Launceston on Saturday August 8.

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