During the October long weekend the Port Pirie and Districts Hockey Association sent six teams to the Barossa Valley to play in the South Australian Regionals Hockey Carnival.
There were some great games of hockey played by all and the amount of talented players that Port Pirie is producing is astounding!
Jo-Anne Ferme had undertaken the massive task of organising teams, coaches, managers and accommodation for this carnival and should be commended for her efforts. Without her input we would have struggled to be organised.
Our association was represented in U13 Girls and Boys, U15 Girls and Boys and U18 Girls and Boys.
An enthusiastic group of 13 girls played in the U13 matches coached by Steven Lane and managed by Donna Longmire. The girls showed great determination in minor rounds with three wins and one draw, only conceding four and scoring a massive 18 goals for the tournament. Finishing on top of the table, the girls went straight though to the grand final and played Barossa. Pirie's tough marking up proved to be a match winner and the defence constantly put the Barossa teams forwards under pressure and limited their ability to get into the circle to score.
Pirie's midfield was fast and supported the forwards to keep the play in our attacking half. Leading goal scorer for the U13s Katelyn Guy was on target and scored two goals in the final. A great penalty corner strike by Alyce Ferme sealed the game and Pirie won comfortably 3-0. A great team effort all weekend showed how skilled and disciplined these girls are.
The U15 girls, coached by Deb Ganley and Amanda George, were combined with the under 18 teams due to a lack of numbers in the U15 age group, which meant they had some very tough matches against the U18 girls but finished on top of the U15 ladder. Eventually winning two nil against South Coast, with Hannah Mark and Destiny Fergusson scoring one goal each.
The U18 girls, coached by Lee Kirchner and managed by Leah Fuchs, saw their regional campaign get off to a slow start, with the girls managing to win only one game on Saturday, against the U15 Port Pirie team. However, on Sunday the girls won all three of their games, but it was possibly the 3-2 loss to the Whyalla/Port Lincoln team on Saturday that ended any final prospects. Overall the team finished third, just missing out on the grand final.
The U13 boys, coached by Sherri Walton and managed by Marcus Webb, had a draw in their first game for the weekend was against Pt Lincoln/Whyalla, both teams had opportunities to score but both were unable to hit a goal, with the result a 0-0 draw when the final whistle blew. Pirie defended hard all game, and goal keeper James Dick made some terrific saves. The Pt Lincoln/Whyalla team was coached by ex-Panthers player Gabe Cox, and they went on to win the U13 boys division.
The second game played on Saturday against South Coast was a tough, fought out game. South Coast had the ability to score and Pirie went down 2-0, which was their first loss for the weekend.
The boys were hoping the Sunday games would be their chance for a win. They played Barossa on the turf and the game really opened up for them. From the start, the boys played good quality hockey and passed the ball around well. They tackled hard and consistently defended with vigour but were unable to make the most of our scoring opportunities. As we struggled to score Barossa managed a two-goal lead.
The tables turned and Pirie won 2-1 against Riverland. Goal scorers Brayden Mrozek and Zac Colyer scored a goal each. The win secured fourth position and Pirie then went on to play Riverland in a playoff for fourth and fifth. Neither team managed to score in the final, resulting in Pirie finishing in fourth position for the championships.
During the championships the team played extremely well and coach Sherri Walton would be extremely proud of her team. Charlie Webb at centre half, Brody Maywald and Brayden Mrozek consistently played great hockey and always contributed well. The team’s defensive skills were on show all weekend, Ryder Petagna and Logan Walton at fullback were reliable and laid solid tackles on their opponents stopping them from penetrating the circle. The team worked hard defensively, defending many penalty corners, together with goal keepers James Dick and Darcy Gulin they managed to keep their opponents to a low goal tally, having only five goals scored against them for the championships.
The U15 Boys team, Coached by Jayden Barnes and Dylan Adams, went into the carnival with quite a bit of confidence. On paper it was a very strong team. On Saturday though, the boys just couldn't quite gel together as we would have hoped, losing all three games narrowly 2-1. They were unlucky not to hold on for a win in two of these games. The two games on Sunday were the total opposite, the boys clicked and played some fantastic hockey, winning both games. Unfortunately it was not enough for them to make the finals, finishing fourth overall.
The U18 boys, coached by Cavan Smith and managed by Emma Dunning, had a tough competition this year losing the first game to Port Lincoln. Backing up their loss the boys were eager and determined for a win coming out and winning the next two games convincingly, finishing off the first day top of the ladder. The second day consisted of one game which we lost 3-1. With the competition being very tight, it went down to a percentage count which knocked them down to fourth place. Being fourth place we were knocked out of finals and it left us with one game left to play which decided who finished fourth or fifth. The boys won confidently 3-0 finishing in fourth place.
Port Pirie and Districts Hockey Association will be hosting this event in 2018 and hopefully we can showcase our district and facilities to the rest of the regional associations.