CHHA. Tigers shook off last year’s finals demons to book themselves a place in the Div 2 Grand Final following a 6-0 win over Irishtown on Saturday.
Knocked out by the Canaries in a 3-2 Preliminary Final loss in 2014, Tigers followed through on their season dominance to await the winner of this weekend’s matchup between Irishtown and Robins, after the latter knocked out Mustangs with a 4-0 win.
Div 2’s first Semi Final saw Robins take on Mustangs to see who would progress through to the Preliminary Final and with this in mind, the game got off to a sluggish start as both defensive units took time to settle in.
The young Robins forwards began to find their run and movement and with Julia Gale moving the ball up the ground to link up with Sam Johns, the pressure began to build.
Mustangs’ Nakore and Tei Popowski were able to repel most attacking moves from the Robins, until Darcey Smith managed to slip one past the keeper to open the scoring.
Mustangs’ forwards began to find space as Farrah Henderson and Savannah Quilliam began to challenge the Robins defence, but with Leah House leading the way, Robins were able to force the pressure back on the Mustangs.
After locking the ball into attack, Robins pressed hard and were rewarded again when Ella House guided a neat deflection into the net to take her side into half time with a 2-0 lead.
Robins continued to play the game on their terms in the second half and forced the Mustangs to defend vigorously, and it wasn’t long until Johns beat the keeper and slipped a nice pass to an unmarked Sasha Davies, who put the Robins’ third on the board.
Mustangs again lifted and began to press their defenders higher up the field, but Robins held firm and against the run of play, Smith was able to find the back of the net for a second time to close out the game and send Robins through to next week.
In the second Semi Final, Irishtown looked to gain momentum early and put the onus on their opposition but once the Tigers settled, they started to find support running through the middle in the form of Karlette Perry.
Perry was constantly driving the ball forward to her attackers and causing headaches for the Irishtown defenders with her skill and game sense, while Irishtown’s Sh’Kea Poke was doing the hard work in the middle and trying to make the most of possession.
A quick movement from defence saw Tigers’ Irene Grey receive the ball on the baseline and slid the ball under the keeper for the first and only score in the half.
After the restart, both sides hit the ground running ensuring some fast-paced rebounding play.
Tigers’ Camilla Woolley and Hannah Jackson began locking the ball in their attacking half and were soon rewarded with a penalty corner, which was converted by Perry to give Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Minutes later after a series of slick passes, Grey once again found some space in Tigers’ attacking circle and hit the back of the net, giving her a second and her side a third.
Laura Tuson, Georgie Finch and Jaishara Poke were working hard in defence for Irishtown, but the constant pressure from the Tigers was too much for them to handle and it wasn’t long before Tigers earned another penalty corner, which Grey smashed in to complete her hat-trick.
Tigers were dominating the play all over the ground and when Camilla Woolley deflected the Tigers’ fifth goal in, the result seemed certain.
With two minutes to go, another conversion to Perry iced the game 6-0 in favour of the Tigers.
In the Div 3 games, Robins defeated Mustangs 5-1 in a dominant performance to go through to the Preliminary Final.
They will face off against Tigers, who were defeated 2-1 by a quick Irishtown unit in the second Semi Final.
In other news, Best and Fairest winners were announced with Robins’ Julia Gale and Irishtown’s Sh’Kea Poke taking out Div 2’s major award and runner-up respectively, while Div 3 honours went to Tigers’ Jodi Smith (winner) and Robins’ Jandi Smith (runner-up).