PENALTY corners - the set piece attacking play can have a huge influence on the course of a game, but for the St Pat's women it hasn't quite been the influence they'd been hoping for.
Instead of providing them with regular goals, over the course of the last month penalty corners have been a source of frustration.
When losing the local derby against Souths 6-1, the Saints managed to convert just one of 10 attempts.
The following week they could not convert from four chances against Parkes then when suffering a shock loss to Bathurst City, the Saints were none from 11.
So on Saturday against Orange United when Paige Hay brilliantly deflected a Mish Somers drive from a penalty corner into the net, the celebration was sweet.
The other goal in the Saints' 2-0 win had a penalty corner play as its catalyst. While United blocked the initial attempt and cleared the ball out of the circle, Pat's quickly sent it back in and Amy Vanderhel capitalised.
Technically Pat's converted one of seven chances, but coach Bec Clayton saw an improvement.
"I think they made smarter choices. At training on Thursday night we tried a couple of variations, we try to keep it simple with our short corners but it just wasn't working," she said.
"The deflection with Paige off that short corner was excellent, it's exactly what we practiced, and we were probably unlucky not to get another one off a short corner as well. But they defended really well."
Clayton said she felt one of the factors in her side failing to convert against Bathurst City was the speed off the mark of star Kirsten Howard.
But that's an asset not every side in the league has.
"Like last week, Choppy [Howard] is so fast out and not many people are as quick as her, so we had a bit more opportunity and time against United to do things and I think that made a difference as well," Clayton said.
While there was an improvement against United, more work on the penalty corner battery is sure to be part of the Saints' training sessions in the weeks to come.
Clayton knows the ability to convert from the set play will be vital as her side chases premiership glory.
"You have to start converting off them or you're just not going to win games as we've seen the last couple of weeks. If we're not converting off short corners we're not going to win games," she said.
"Thankfully we got one today off a short corner and our second goal came from keeping the ball alive after a short corner, so our finishing today was a lot better, but we've still got a lot of work to do."
INJURIES, illness, COVID-19 isolation - it's something all clubs in the Central West Premier League competition have had to deal with this season.
Orange United is no exception and as such, a number of players have been shuffled into unfamiliar positions.
On Saturday against St Pat's Charlotte Heath found herself shifted out of defence into a midfield role. She excelled.
Not only did her strong defensive skills see her win a number of 50-50 balls, but her pace and vision saw her creating for her team-mates.
"She used to play with me in the back, but we're missing a few players at the moment so we're just putting players where we need them on the day," United skipper Ellen Warner said.
"She went awesome, she came back from uni so we were very lucky to have her."
FROM winning a women's grand final to sitting on the bottom of the Central West Premier League ladder - it's not where Orange CYMS want to be.
It's also a spot that Bathurst City skipper Erin Cobcroft doesn't think CYMS will be in for much longer.
CYMS posted a 3-2 win over City in Saturday's Indigenous round match, backing up its victory over Souths from a week earlier.
"I think they've been one of the tougher teams we've played. The last time we played them they were missing a few players, they didn't have Emma Corcoran or Courtney Hogan," Cobcroft said.
"They had a few of their regular players today and if they keep up with that team, I think you should keep an eye out for them because that's a really strong team.
"Yeah if they have that same team every week I think they'll be pretty hard to beat and could get into the finals."
CYMS coach Pete Shea is also happy with the way his side has come together over the past fortnight. Though on the bottom of the ladder, the side is just two points out of the top four.
"We're building a bit if momentum, those things build confidence a little bit and it gives us a smile on our face when we come to training," Shea said.
"You start to win, you start to learn how to win."
UNDEFEATED through seven rounds of competition, Lithgow Panthers is shaping as the title favourite in the women's premiership.
But after his side fell to Panthers on Saturday, Souths coach Scott Hanrahan declared Lithgow is beatable.
He's got a good idea of how to do it as well. Shut down their core, get hard on the ball.
"I think we just can't let their middle run. Their two defensive mids are quite strong so we really need to shut them down," he said.
"When we did that we were getting the edge over them.
"Winning those 50-50-balls too, fighting for those and winning those is a difference with them. But we when controlled the ball we put them under a lot of pressure."
FIVE wins in a row - it is a winning streak that has St Pat's on top of the men's Central West Premier League Hockey ladder.
Since falling to defending premiers Lithgow Storm in round two the Saints have strung together some impressive hockey.
They've scored 20 goals across their last five outings and conceded just four.
They've blooded young guns like Will Daymond, Seth Norris and Logan Speer and even since losing captain Tyler Willott to a broken finger, the Saints have continued to produce an impressive brand of hockey.
What shapes as their biggest test will be their last two games this month - the Saints drawn to play Storm on consecutive weekends.
Whichever side gets the edge in those games is likely to finish as the minor premier.
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