Zig Zag women made a gutsy comeback in their first game of the premier league season, fighting from a four goal deficit to draw with Bathurst Souths 4-4 in front of a home crowd on Saturday.
After finishing last season at the bottom of the table, assistant coach Jess Harris said Zig Zag opened 2018 with the best game she’s seen her team play in two years.
"They just didn't give up. They really dug deep when we were down 4-nil,” she said.
Bathurst Souths controlled the ball for the majority of the first half, with circle penetrations by Zig Zag few and far between.
A little over ten minutes into the match, with two Souths’ penalty corners already come and gone, Sophie McCauley scored the first goal for the Bathurst opponents.
This was closely followed by a second from Emma Siejka.
Just when Zig Zag managed to gain possession, Souths’ McCauley broke away with ball, travelling the field to post her second goal for the team.
Zig Zag’s goal keeper Kirsty Jenkins made an impressive save with only minutes left in the first half.
Souths, however, were soon vindicated by a penalty corner conversion from Ali Stanford, putting them four goals ahead of a scoreless Zig Zag.
A quick hustle in the remaining seconds of the first half made all the difference.
Zig Zag stalwart Jana Winnard successfully converted the team’s first penalty corner with literally zero seconds left on the board.
Zig Zag’s control came back in the final half, successfully holding Souths off long enough for Winnard to convert a second penalty corner on the rebound with twenty minutes left.
The teams traded possession and both had made unsuccessful goal attempts when Zig Zag’s Kelsie Whyte, who was making her premier league debut, scored her maiden goal with nine minutes to go.
Another Zig Zag junior, Tayla Deveigne, leveled the score to 4-4.
Souths entered the circle with two minutes left but Ziggies saved a potential winning goal, leaving the game on a draw.
Harris said the result was thanks to Zig Zag’s juniors and the team’s seasoned players putting in their best efforts.
“Some of the more senior players like Jana Winnard, Kate Young and Tegan Walsh had an excellent game,” she said.
“The game got quite physical and all the younger girls held their own.”
Ian North, Souths’ coach, was also happy with his team’s performance.
"We played good for half the game, the second half of the game our fitness probably got us a bit,” he said.
“That's a great start to the season as far as I'm concerned, putting four goals away. The whole team worked well together and the game was played in the right spirit.
“Zig Zag came back so full credit to them."
Saturday’s performance bodes well for Zig Zag’s 2018 season.
“Yeah, I feel pretty good about it after today,” Harris said.