2014 - Junior Country Championships Review

Junior Country Championships

Saturday 24 May and Sunday 25 May 2014




Teams represent Wimmera at Junior Country Championships

Three junior teams competed in the Hockey Victoria Junior Country Championships at Melbourne with matches played on Saturday 24 May and Sunday 25 May 2014.  The two-day tournament is commonly known as Junior Country Week.

Results were mixed but a highlight of the weekend was the new WHA uniform jumper which is a first for the Wimmera association this year.  The hooded jumpers were available for all the players and officials.  These jumpers are sponsored by various local businesses.  The jumpers helped give the representatives a sense of Wimmera pride, as well a fantastic team appearance and being able to be easily recognised around venues.

All six of the Wimmera clubs were represented this year with most represented in each of the three teams.  Wimmera competed in the Under 15 Boys division, Under 17 Girls division and the Under 17 Boys division.

A mixed Wimmera team competed in the Under 15 Boys division, and included a couple of boys from North Central hockey.

Wimmera fielded an Under 17 Girls team which partly consisted of a few under 15 players. Wimmera fielded an Under 17 Boys team for the first time since 2011.

These were great numbers for the Wimmera which had only sent two teams last year.  All ages had the opportunity to represent their Wimmera association this year.

Players relished the opportunity to play their whole tournament on artificial turf, as well as play with teammates who are usually opponents.  This championships weekend provides great experience for young players to learn new skills, builds confidence and encourages inter-club bonding within our association.

Officials were also pleased that games for the three teams were played at venues close to each other with under 17s all at Essendon and under 15s at Footscray which made organisation easier in Melbourne, as well as being able to support each team.

These championships also form part of the selection process for North West Lightning zone teams to compete in the Junior State Championships in July.  Wimmera currently has six juniors in initial squads and will wait to hear of team selections.

Well done to all the players, officials and parent helpers for representing the Wimmera so well.  Also for being prompt with results and feedback on the trip!


Under 15 Mixed

Wimmera competed in the Under 15 Boys division with a team of mixed under 15s.

The Under 15s played all their matches on both Saturday and Sunday at Footscray Hockey Centre.

With so many teams, 12 total, the Under 15 Boys division was split into A and B pools.

There were 6 teams in Pool A: Hockey Geelong, East Gippsland HA, Warrnambool District HA, North Central HA, Hockey Albury Wodonga, Goulburn Valley HA.

Wimmera played in Pool B.

There were 6 teams in Pool B: West Gippsland, Hockey Geelong, Wimmera HA, Sunraysia HA, Hockey Ballarat, Hockey Central Victoria.

Under 15 matches in the boys division were 30 minute matches which consisted of one ‘term’ and no swapping ends or time stopping for anything.

Team Manager Wendy Shalders said everyone in the team “tried really hard”.  She said the “weather’s been perfect”.  On the Saturday the under 15s played under lights at 7pm which provides a different atmosphere for playing and can be quite exciting for the young players.

Wendy said they “all put in 110%”, and that it was a “friendly” team. About having several parents along to help out and support the kids Wendy said, “It’s been good having the extra parents”.

Although the team scored no goals for the tournament, there were bright moments, including when Luke Shalders “nearly got one” his mother said!

“The hoodies have been fantastic,” Wendy said.  She said one fella commented that he recognised the group as being ‘Wimmera’ by the jumpers.

Coach Ellie Woods said, “The under 15s have really bonded as a team and are working well together despite not having any prior training.  They’re beginning to communicate a lot more resulting in lots of team work.  Though they haven’t won any matches the kids are all in good spirits which is exactly what I think JCC is all about.  The experience.  Getting to play and know people who are normally the opposition as well as playing at a higher level and gaining new skills.  It’s always a great weekend and it’s fantastic to see how many more kids are getting involved in the sport.  They have all represented Wimmera well.”

Teo Haines and Daniel Danisch played goalie for a game each, then Fletcher Bowles from North Central played the other 3 games.  Coach Ellie said Fletcher “was really good” and “that allowed us to have Daniel on full back”.

“Tempany Croot was really positive and kept the morale high giving lots of encouragement, and after a few games they started working together really well, which gave them more goal scoring opportunities, and the sideline were supporting them,” Ellie said.

Ellie said they “did get a few attacking short corners, pushing out to Luke Shalders at the top and they were talking well”.  She said they were getting it to the net, just couldn’t quite get it over the line.

She said some “good attack surprised some of the opposition”.


– Under 15 Boys (mixed)

Saturday 24 May 2014

Game 1: Wimmera 0 lost to Hockey Central Vic 3.

Game 2: Wimmera 0 lost to Hockey Ballarat 5.

Game 3:Wimmera 0 lost to Hockey Geelong 11.

Game 4: Wimmera 0 lost to West Gippsland 6.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Game 5: Wimmera 0 lost to Sunraysia 5.

No final.


Under 17 Girls

Under 17 Girls played all their matches on both Saturday and Sunday at the Essendon hockey centre.

There was one pool of under 17 girls, with five teams competing.

Girls pool: East Gippsland HA, North Central HA, Wimmera HA, Sunraysia HA, Hockey Albury Wodonga.

Games consisted of two x 22-minute halves.

Coach Claire Barnett said, “I think they played really, really well, considering they hadn’t trained together, and they have girls from six different clubs playing together.” Claire said they also played really well “considering most of the girls were defensive players” and they “adapted well” to playing in different positions to what they were used to, being placed on the forward line.

Claire said goalie Brittany Keam was a “ninja”.  She said in the first half against North Central “they had about 20 short corners in a row against them and Brittany stopped every single one.”  She said they held them out until the second half but then everyone gets a bit tired and the opposition started to get a few through.  She said “the half backs and full backs linked in well with each other” too.

“We had a few chances on the forward line but just couldn’t finish it off…we got a few short corners in attack, but just couldn’t get them in”.  The goal the girls did get was from off a short corner against North Central with Lucy O’Connor having a shot, then “she picked up the rebound and got it in”.

Claire said the girls generally had a fun weekend, didn’t really know each other at the start, but seemed to be happy with each other by the end.  She said the “Older girls have been encouraging to the younger ones, having 13 year olds in the team, so that was good.”

She said the new jumpers were “definitely” good, and that the “kids wore them everywhere”.

She said the team had improved on last year.

Match Report notes:

Game 1: vs Sunraysia.  Some good pressure by our backs Ash and Toni.  Some forward play with Lucy, Kaylee and Hannah working well.  Fantastic save by Brittany in goals from a huge hit to her from a corner.  Second half gained our first short corner.  Some great forward play with Hannah, Lucy and Sophie.  Lucy just missed a goal from a short corner.  Great defending by all the team.

Game 2: vs Albury/Wodonga. Awesome first half to keep a top team to 0-0.  Defended hard with Toni, Ash and Zoe, and Brittany in goals.  Lots of corners to defend and kept them all out.  Great play by Brittany in second half, really under the pump.  Team tired and opposition started to get goals.

Game 3: vs North Central. Lucy got a goal off our first short corner for the match.  Some good forward play with Lucy, Stefanie and Hannah.  Defending well again with Zoe and Ash.  Some awesome stops by Brittany in goals.  Second half, missed a chance from a short corner.  A bit of forward play with Jess and Lucy.  Defending well with Kaylee and Toni, and Brittany in goals.

Game 4: vs East Gippsland.  Some forward play with Lucy, Hannah and Stefanie.  Defending well with Toni, Ash and Kiah.  Again some great saves by Brittany in goals.  Second half a few quick corners for us and some forward play.  Some good running by Mia and Lucy.  Good saves by Brittany.  Ash defending well.  Team started to gel together by the end of the fourth game.


– Under 17 Girls

Saturday 24 May 2014

Game 1: Wimmera 0 lost to Sunraysia 3.

Game 2: Wimmera 0 lost to Hockey Albury Wodonga 5.

Game 3: Wimmera 1 lost to North Central 3 (Goal – Lucy O’Connor).

Sunday 25 May 2014

Game 4: Wimmera 0 lost to East Gippsland 2.

No final.

Wimmera finished fifth out of five teams.


Under 17 Boys

Under 17 Boys played all their matches on both Saturday and Sunday at the Essendon hockey centre.

With so many teams, 11 total, the Under 17 Boys division was split into A and B pools.

There were 6 teams in Pool A: Hockey Albury Wodonga, East Gippsland HA, Hockey Ballarat, Goulburn Valley HA, Warrnambool District HA, Hockey Central Victoria.

Wimmera played in Pool B.

There were 5 teams in Pool B: Sunraysia HA, West Gippsland, North Central HA, Wimmera HA, Glenelg Regional HA.

Games consisted of one ‘term’ of 30 minutes, with no half time.

Coach Braden Clark said the under 17 boys were “A good bunch of kids…they were starting to play well as a team.” He said they were all playing their parts well in the team with no particular standouts, which is great to showcase a team effort, all “playing where they were meant to play”. He said they were bonding nicely and enjoying themselves off-field as well.

Braden said their “Defence has been pretty strong, keeping heaps of goals out”. He said they were “struggling in attack for a start, but started to get some good runs and wings were getting to the post”.

He said their “one touch passes were good, and they were getting them off the pads”, and they were generally a “pretty fast forwardline”.

He commented that many of the members of the team were “pretty tall compared to some teams”. 

The new WHA jumpers have been a hit with the under 17 boys as well.  Braden said “Everyone is saying they are pretty comfy and warm”. He said the weather was good Saturday, but was raining Sunday morning although they didn’t have to play until later.  The rain stopped and it was a little windy by the time they played Sunday afternoon, with their last round match, then their final.

One of the parent helpers commented that the “big boys have been exemplary in behaviour” while another commented that we have some “great role models for the younger players”.


– Under 17 Boys

Wimmera in Pool B:

Saturday 24 May 2014

Game 1: Wimmera 0 lost to North Central 1.

Game 2: Wimmera 1 lost to Sunraysia 2 (Goal – Lachlan Clark).

Game 3: Wimmera 1 drew with West Gippsland 1 (Goal – Lachlan Clark).

Sunday 25 May 2014

Game 4: Wimmera 1 def Glenelg 0 (Goal – Colin Taylor).

Wimmera finished third in their pool, Pool B, and played off against fourth-placed Glenelg in a final.

Game 5: Finals: Wimmera 1 def Glenelg 0 (Goal – Lachlan Schultz).

Wimmera officially finished third in their pool B.



Several sponsors have contributed to making the Wimmera’s Junior Country Championships campaign a success, varying from cash sponsorship to raffle prizes and donations including some food.  Cash sponsorship has contributed to the new first-time Wimmera association jumpers.  So far we have raised $1200 and would still welcome contributions as the tops cost $2400.

Wimmera would like to recognise and thank the following so far:

Cash sponsors:

W & H Cannell Builders (major sponsor), Goodwin Freight, Dunlop Super, Horsham Lighting and Décor, Home Hardware, Westprint Maps, Westmix Concrete, Robot Motors, Horsham Wool & Skins;

Raffle prizes:

Buildpro, Horsham Lanes and Games, Driscoll McIllree & Dickinson, Olivaye, 40 Winks;


Nhill IGA, Kaniva IGA, Peaches of Horsham, Nhill Chemist.


Team photos

(see facebook)


Under 15 Boys (Mixed)

Back, from left: Daniel Danisch (Dimboola), Rebekah Albrecht (Dimboola), Captain Kaitlyn Miller (Yanac), Lachie Wilde (Nhill), Fletcher Bowles (North Central), Finn Smith (North Central).

Front: Tempany Croot (Yanac), Stuart Hallett (Horsham), Kira Guest (Horsham), Coach Ellie Woods (Warracknabeal), Teo Haines (Dimboola), Luke Shalders (Kaniva), Fraser Bothe (Kaniva).

Absent: Nathan Sparke (Horsham), Team Manager Wendy Shalders, Assistant Team Manager Matthew Sparke.


Under 17 Girls

Back, from left: Coach Claire Barnett (Horsham), Mia Guest (Horsham), Jemima Bothe (Kaniva), Hannah Gulline (Horsham), Zoe Pilmore (Dimboola), Ashleigh Fogarty (Horsham), Sophie Pipkorn (Yanac), Jessica Revell (Dimboola), Toni-Anne Woods (Warracknabeal).

Front: Kaylee Withers (Dimboola), Brittany Keam (Kaniva), Kiah Zietsman (Horsham), Captain Lucy O’Connor (Horsham), Stefanie Bull (Nhill).

Absent: Team Manager Narelle O’Connor, Assistant Team Manager Sarah O’Connor.


Under 17 Boys

From left: Team Manager Roger Clark (Kaniva), Coach Braden Clark (Kaniva), Brandon Rich (Kaniva), Lachlan Clark (Kaniva), Jack Dean (Warracknabeal), Lachie Mills (Kaniva), Lewis Bothe (Kaniva), Duncan Shalders (Kaniva), Captain Alex Pipkorn (Nhill), Alex Magrath (Yanac), Adam Ussing (Nhill), Hayden Withers (Dimboola), William Gulline (Horsham), Lachlan Schultz (Dimboola), Colin Taylor (Warracknabeal), Assistant Team Manager Gary Mills (Kaniva).


- Rachel Clark, WHA Records Secretary 2014

with information from Coaches and Team Managers who kindly supplied information during the busy event, while they were on the bus trip home on the Sunday, and from team match sheets supplied after the event.  Thank you! Thank you especially to Narelle O'Connor, Wendy Shalders and the three coaches Ellie Woods, Braden Clark and Claire Barnett, and to those who took photos.