2014 - Men's Country Championships Review
Men's Victorian Country Championships 2014
Saturday 7, Sunday 8 and Monday 9 June 2014
The Wimmera Hockey Association returned from the Victorian Country Championships in Melbourne on the weekend with mixed results, with one team narrowly losing the Division Two final and the other finishing on the bottom of the ladder. Four of the Association’s clubs were represented by the players who made up two teams, both of which were entered in Division Two. This was the first occasion that the two Wimmera teams played in the same division at this level.
The twenty five players who converged on the Footscray Hockey Centre to represent the Wimmera included eleven from Warracknabeal, four from Dimboola, three from Horsham, two from Kaniva with the remaining being former Wimmera players now based in Ballarat, Geelong or Melbourne. The teams were led by Jarrod Knoop as coach and managed by Simon King and Meg Hormann.
The members of the Wimmera One team had the greater experience playing at this level, and they started the tournament in the first game on Saturday morning with a three goal loss to Warrnambool Two and followed this up later in the day with a two goal loss to Latrobe.
In the much anticipated first ever all-Wimmera match on Sunday morning, the younger players representing Wimmera Two overpowered the experience of the One’s to register a nine goals to three win. After an eight hour break between games, a forgettable day for the One’s ended with a loss to North Central by seven goals.
The following morning, with some help from several players from North Central and Latrobe to cover for a couple of players being unavailable due to injury, the Wimmera One team registered their best results for the weekend. These included a three goal loss to eventual premiers East Gippsland, and in their final game the scores were level at one goal each with two minutes to go before Hockey Central Victoria (Bendigo) scored a late goal to deny the Wimmera team any points and condemn them to finish on the bottom of the ladder.
The Wimmera Two team had a more successful tournament which started with wins over Latrobe by six goals and Warrnambool Two by one goal, and a loss to East Gippsland by three goals on Saturday.
Sunday began with the solid win over Wimmera One and finished with a five all draw with Hockey Central Victoria.
A five goal win over North Central in their last pool game on Monday morning was enough for them to finish in second place and earn a spot in the final against ladder leader East Gippsland.
The final was a hard fought game ending with a four all draw at full time, which necessitated a penalty stroke shootout to break the dead-lock. Wimmera Two scored four goals from their five attempts but East Gippsland was able to score all five which gave them the premiership. The final score was eight goals to nine.
This was the second time in the last three seasons that a Wimmera team had made the final in Division Two, which is a commendable effort for such a small Association and is a credit to those individuals who put in the commitment to make themselves available to represent this region at this level as both players and officials.
Jordan Clark and Stuart Owen were the most prolific goal scorers with seven each, followed by Marcus Williamson with six and Ethan Schilling with five who all played in the Wimmera Two team. Darius Cosgrave with two goals led the scoring in the Wimmera One team.
Whilst every player in both teams contributed over the weekend, Jordan and Braden Clark, Jarrod Knoop, Marcus Williamson, Ethan Schilling and Stuart Owen in the forward line, Paul Slater and James Klinge in the mid field, Darius Cosgrave, Caleb Halsall and Simon King in the back line and goal keepers Stuart Hoffman and Joel Wilkosz were amongst the more consistent players in the games they played.
- Simon King, Men's Country Week Coordinator