Experience sees Sparks in to final
SPARKS managed to overturn a 2-0 half-time deficit to sneak away with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Souths in the men’s A1 hockey major semi-final on Saturday.
The hard-fought win booked Sparks a place in their 76th consecutive grand final, with Sparks’ experienced players proving the difference on the day.
“We had to rely on our older heads in the side to get the prize today, Pauly Rose ended up with two late goals to seal the match, so it was lucky we had a cool head there to slot those home,” captain-coach Andrew McGuire said.
“It was a bit tighter than we expected, it was a bit of a shock to the system and obviously the boys had to work hard in the second half not only to overcome the deficit but to run away with a win.”
In the women’s A1 major semi Souths edged out Sparks 1-0 in a bruising encounter thanks to a first-half goal from Kirsten Wyllie.
Souths survived a scare early in the second half when Sparks were awarded a penalty stroke, but Brittany Leask’s lofted strike was turned away by keeper Stephanie Rickson.
The deficit could have been worse for Sparks if not for a series of stunning saves by Hannah Curran that kept her side in the hunt.
Souths coach Ruth Armitage was full of praise for her side’s all-round performance.
“I think the winning edge for our team was our attack, our strike forwards really attacked hard,” she said.
“We definitely dominated the play and had more of the attack; we kept possession of the ball more than Sparks which resulted in our win.”
The losing sides play Meteors next week for a grand final berth.