Despite both teams failing to win any pool matches, Lithgow’s open men and women hockey teams said they took plenty of positives away from this year’s field state hockey championships, held in Sydney over the Queen’s Birthday weekend.
The Lithgow men’s team was facing the tough competition of the championship’s first division for the first time since 2011. Seeded 10th (out of 10), they said they were pleased to finish ninth, winning a relegation match 7-2 against Grafton.
“We finished up playing the relegation match, whoever finishes last goes to second division. We stayed in first division, so that was our goal of the weekend,” captain Ben Kelly said.
“They did really, really well,” team manager Karen Luka said.
“This was the first year back in first division, and it’s a lot stronger competition, the best in New South Wales.”
Both Kelly and Luka commended the effort of Lithgow Panthers goal keeper Logan Hunter, who was awarded players’ player for the weekend.
After winning division one of the state championships last year, Lithgow women were disappointed to finish at the bottom of the division’s table this year.
“Tenth out of ten, unfortunately,” manager Leanne Bosman said.
She said, however, the weekend was a great opportunity for several younger players who joined the team in 2018.
“We had a few injuries and a few players unavailable.
“We had to call on some young ones who performed well: Lainey Holmes, Kellsey Charlton, Halle Roberts, Tayla Deveigne, Mackenzie Stewart, Rylee Millar.”
The average age of the team was 18-years-old with some players as young as 14.
“It was beneficial for the kids. They would have learnt a lot, hopefully they will come back next year.”
Both teams mentioned the difficulty they had with a new game format the championship trialed over the weekend. After scoring a goal teams were then able to score a bonus goal in a one-on-one between a striker and the goalie.
“Unfortunately, if we didn’t have the new format we would have done a lot better, we lost two games on the Saturday that would have been a win and a draw if it weren’t for the new system,” Bosman said.
“It blew the goals right out,” Kelly agreed.
Lithgow Mens Open Team 2018
In order of picture above: Tom Piggott, Nathan Mitchell, Taylor Dolbel, Logan Hunter, Gus Schofield, Dean Robertson, Eli Shirt, Michael Dillon,Joss Luka, Greg Nelson, Jed Schofield, Trent McDonald, Nic Milne, Ben Kelly, Jake Lewis.
Lithgow Women Open Team 2018
Clare Bosman,Tamika Bostock, Kellsey Charlton, Tayla Deveigne, Andrea Gillard, Katie Hammett, Samantha Hill, Lainey Holmes, Hannah Kable, Amelia Leard, Jessie Luchetti, Rylee Millar, Halle Roberts, Abigail Wilson.