Hosts take Open indoor titles

Hosts take Open indoor titles

NSW are Open Indoor Aus Championship winners

Author: Lawrence West

It turned out to be a double celebration for the home players and fans as New South Wales took out both gold medals in the Indoor Australian Championships’ Open competitions at the Illawarra Hockey Centre in Wollongong on Sunday. 

In the women’s competition, a goal in either half from local Emma McLeish, plus strikes by Clare Rieck, Nicole King and Rachel Divall saw off rivals Western Australia in a 5-0 win. Earlier in the competition, WA had handed NSW what would be their only defeat – 3-4 – in a late come-from-behind smash and grab, but NSW tightened things up for the gold medal match. 

Despite scoring five, it was NSW’s resolute defence that laid the foundations for the victory. WA breached the NSW circle 30 times in the match – 12 more than NSW managed at the other end – but NSW held firm while showing clinical finishing of their own opportunities. 

While WA settled for silver, there was further consolation with Karri Somerville picking up the top scorer award for 11 goals and the overall player of the tournament title.

2016 champions Queensland took out the bronze medal, finishing ahead of ACT. An 8-0 win for Queensland over the ACT was underpinned by a hat-trick from Natalie Crick. Lindsey Howard, Amy Swann, Eden Jackat, Ashlea Fey and Lauren Richards also found the net. 

There were seven different goal scorers in NSW’s men’s 5-2 gold medal victory over ACT, a re-run of the 2016 final. And just as 12 months ago at the same venue, the hosts came out on top. It was a case of missed opportunities for ACT, whose stats for shots, circle entries and penalty corners were superior to those of their NSW rivals. But where it matted, on the scoreboard, the team in light blue came out on top. Scott Govers, Simon Beaton and Flynn Ogilvie put NSW into a 3-0 half-time lead before Nigel Croke and ACT’s Lewis Shepherd traded goals. Blake Govers rounded out the goals for the hosts before Troy Sutherland’s last minute consolation for ACT. 

Queensland are the 2017 men’s bronze medallists having missed out on the medals altogether in 2016. They won their thrilling final match against WA 6-5. Goals from WA’s Andrew Vaitekenas and Matthew Claxton sandwiched strikes by Adam McClelland and Aidan Campbell for Queensland as the sides went in 2-2 at half time. A second half double from Nick Tate and one from Joel Carroll of WA matched goals scored by Jared Taylor, David Spence and Aidan Campbell before, with just two minutes remaining, Taylor bagged his second of the game, and Queensland’s sixth, to secure a late victory. 

With the Open men’s and women’s competitions over, attention turns to the Under 21 divisions which begin today, Monday. In the U21 women’s Indoor Australian Championships, the hosts NSW will be looking to retain their 2016 title while near neighbours ACT will harbor hopes of going one better than their silver medal 12 months ago. WA, the bronze medallists in 2016, will be hoping they can reach the gold medal game this time around.

In the U21 men’s Indoor Australian Championships, all eyes will be on defending champs Victoria, but with three 17 year olds and just two players aged 20 in their ranks they are set to field the youngest team in the competition and it might be a tough ask against their older rivals. All four of their rivals in Wollongong – 2016 silver medallists Queensland, defending bronze medallists NSW, ACT and WA will believe they can reach the gold medal match on Friday.

Supported by Destination Wollongong, Illawarra South Coast Hockey Association, the University of Wollongong and Hockey NSW, the Indoor Festival of Hockey is a three-week extravaganza of indoor hockey, showcasing the best players in the country at Open, Under 21, Under 18, Under 15 and Under 13 level. 

Now in the second year of an initial two-year agreement, more than 1000 participants, spectators and volunteers will be involved over the next three weeks. 

Anyone visiting Wollongong for the Indoor Festival of Hockey over the next three weeks is encouraged to visit the Visit Wollongong website for information and ideas of what to see and do. 

Hockey Australia thanks all of its partners and the outstanding team of volunteers and officials for their great work at the Indoor Festival of Hockey. 

Final standings – Women’s Open Indoor Australian Championships
For full results, standings, statistics and more visit Altius here. 
1. New South Wales (Champions)
2. Western Australia (Silver medal)
3. Queensland (Bronze medal)
4. Australian Capital Territory
5. Victoria
6. South Australia
7. Tasmania

Award Winners - Women’s Open Indoor Australian Championships
Top scorer: Karri Somerville (WA) (11 goals)
Player of the Tournament: Karri Somerville (WA)
Player of the Final: Emma McLeish (NSW)

Final Standings – Men’s Open Indoor Australian Championships
For full results, standings, statistics and more visit Altius here.

1. New South Wales (Champions)
2. Australian Capital Territory (Silver medal)
3. Queensland (Bronze medal)
4. Western Australia
5. Victoria

Award Winners - Men's Open Indoor Australian Championships
Top scorer: Flynn Ogilvie (NSW) (13 goals)
Player of the Tournament: Flynn Ogilvie (NSW)
Player of the Final: Blake Govers (NSW)