Last weekend in magnificent weather, Port Pirie and District Hockey Association (PP&DHA) hosted the SA Regional Junior Hockey Championships. This event is only open to regional hockey associations and along with PP&DHA the other associations represented were; Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Naracoorte, Riverland, South Coast, Clare/Yorke Peninsula and Barossa Valley. There were 24 teams across the 6 divisions equating to around 450 players. Pool matches commenced on Saturday and concluded on Sunday with the Grand Finals played on Monday.
The games were played at both the hockey complex and the Saint Marks Bosco Campus. PP&DHA would like to thank St Marks for the use of the fields and amenities at Bosco.
There were some great games of hockey played throughout the weekend and the high degree of skill and talent of our regional players was evident throughout the whole competition.
Port Pirie and District Hockey Association featured in four of the six grand finals on Monday and won them all starting with the under 13 girls who defeated South Coast 1 nil in the dying seconds of regulation time. This game was extremely tight and neither team was giving anything away defensively making it hard to score. PP&DHA managed to get a fast break and get in behind the defence of South Coast and put the ball past the keeper with less than 6 seconds remaining in the game. MVP of the final was Maya Overall from South Coast.
Next final held was the under 13 boys, which was also a tough and tight encounter between Naracoorte and Barossa Valley. Both teams were locked away at 1 all after regulation time, the game then went into golden goal extra time with Naracoorte scoring within 2 minutes, getting them the championship win. MVP of the final was Connor Butler from Naracoorte.
Under 15 girls were the next grade to play. PP&DHA who were the dominant side all weekend had an easy 7 nil win over South Coast. South Coast were not able to combat the girls from PP&DHA at any stage during this match. MVP of the final was Lily Cazzolotto from South Coast.
The under 15 boys game was another tough encounter, this time between Country West (Pt Lincoln/Whyalla) and South Coast. After regulation time both teams were 1 all, still after golden goal extra time the teams could not be separated. The game went to a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner. Country West prevailed 2 nil in the shoot-out and were declared the winners. MVP of the final was Jesse Ambrose from Country West.
The penultimate final of the day was the under 18 girls between PP&DHA and Barossa Valley and once again this game was very close. With the teams locked at 1 all after regulation and extra time, this game also went to a penalty shoot-out. PP&DHA scoring 3 to 1 in the shoo-out and winning the championships. MVP of the final was Maya Standish from Barossa Valley.
Last match of the day was under 18 boys between PP&DHA and Riverland. Both teams locked at 1 all after regulation time, golden goal extra time was played. PP&DHA managed to get a goal in the extra time and were declared winners. MVP of the final was Jack Dickerson from PP&DHA.
Other awards were given for player of the championship in each grade with the recipients being;
Under 13 girls - Selena Arens (South Coast)
Under 13 boys - Braydan Warner (Barossa Valley)
Under 15 girls - Muscan Kaur (South Coast)
Under 15 boys - Charlie Webb (PP&DHA)
Under 18 girls - Mirella Marino (Country West)
Under 18 boys - Taiten Harrison (Barossa Valley)
An event of this scale cannot be run without a massive volunteer base and our association was very lucky to have an organising committee to enable us to have a very successful tournament. It also requires backing from sponsors and donors to help with the costs associated with hosting an event like this, so the PP&DHA would like to thank all the volunteers and sponsors for their contribution to helping run this event.
Congratulations to Jo-anne Ferme, who was awarded the SANTOS award for dedication to Regional Junior Hockey. Jo has been an instrumental part of the SA Regional Hockey Championships for a number of years now and was a deserved winner of this award for her dedication to junior hockey in Port Pirie and the wider South Australia.
The 2019 Championships will be held in Port Lincoln.