WIMMERA Hockey Association began its 2014 season in warm conditions with all nine first round matches held on lush green grass fields at Davis Park in Nhill on Saturday.
In the open competition, Dimboola claimed top spot on the ladder after its 6-0 win over Horsham Hurricanes.
Dimboola has secured the services of female goalie Ellie Woods, who has transferred from Warrack and is also playing on the field for the Dimboola women.
The former junior state championships goalie has boosted the mostly men's side and with a steady line-up, the Dimboola side ran away in the second half to claim the four points.
Both teams had been fairly evenly matched early in the game with several short corners, although while Horsham was hitting the ball hard, it was not passing as efficiently as Dimboola.
Nathan Jorgensen scored four times, while last year's open best and fairest Tim Jorgensen shone for Dimboola and Paul Mackereth was a steady contributor for the Hurricanes.
Kaniva Cobras and Warrack Hoops shared the points after a 2-2 draw.
Both sides spent time in the lead - Kaniva was just in front at half-time, before Warrack evened the score three minutes into the second half.
Paul Slater contributed well for the Hoops while Braden Clark shone for Kaniva.
Despite being at risk of not fielding a team this season, Nhill Rangers have recruited well and put in a worthy performance against back-to-back open premiers Yanac Tigers.
The Tigers dominated in attack in the first half, although Nhill's defence held them to two goals.
Nhill played good passing hockey at the start of the second half but Yanac's on-field talk and skills kept it pushing in front and to a 4-0 win.
Yanac women's centre half-back Erin Alexander changed her name after getting married in the off-season, but the three-time consecutive association women's best and fairest player has not changed her style, scoring a winning goal while shining against the Nhill Thunderbirds.
Despite a couple of blows to the Yanac side including a nose injury and utilising several juniors, it scored twice in the second half to win 2-0.
Wendy Crowhurst was named best for the Thunderbirds at centre half-back.
Back-to-back women's premier Dimboola has changed its line-up slightly but still showed plenty of strength in its 4-1 win against Horsham Highlanders.
Ashlee Crowhurst shone for Dimboola while Launa Schilling starred for the Highlanders.
Kaniva has jumped out of the gates early this season with a couple of handy recruits and with good passing, plays and teamwork held on for a 0-0 draw despite a late surge from Warrack.
Full-backs Tiffany Bull,Warrack, and Rachel Clark, Kaniva, influenced the final score, or 'non-score'.
In the juniors, the Kaniva Raiders won 10-0 against Horsham Bombers, Nhill Leopards and Dimboola Kookaburras drew 1-1 and Yanac Warriors proved too strong for Dimboola Kangaroos, winning 18-0.
Round two matches will be held at Brim Recreation Reserve, hosted by Warracknabeal Hockey Club, next Saturday.
This venue is a first for Wimmera hockey.
See the Mail-Times on Friday for results, votes and ladders.