Wimmera Hockey's women's team victorious in Geelong

WIMMERA Hockey Association's women's team claimed victory in the 2014 Hockey Victoria Women's Country Championships B1 division title in Geelong at the weekend.

The Wimmera team lost its first two pool matches 2-0 to Latrobe Valley and 6-3 to Peninsula before turning its form around with an 2-0 win against Goulburn Valley.

A 3-1 semi-final win over Peninsula set up a grand final clash with Latrobe Valley, which the Wimmera women won 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out after scores were tied 1-all at full-time.

Association records secretary and women's team player Rachel Clark said it was a fantastic achievement.

"We had high hopes but we weren't expecting to win," she said.

"We lost 6-3 in the second game, but in the second half we figured out what the other team was doing and shut them down.

"From then on, the tournament turned around for us.

"I couldn't believe the transformation from the first game and every game through to the finals we got better with every game."

Clark said Ian Barnett, who stepped up as coach after the opening game, had played a major contribution.

"We were really grateful he stepped in and it definitely helped us along and gave us a bit more direction," she said.

"He was really good giving us a bit of strategy and a lot of encouragement."

Clark said her side felt confident going into the penalty shoot-out, with captain Stephanie Daly sealing the win with the side's fifth penalty.

Two men's teams also represented the association in division two of the Men's Country Championships in Footscray.

Wimmera Two reached the final but lost in heartbreaking fashion on penalties to East Gippsland 9-8 after scores were level at 4-all at full-time and Wimmera One did not snare a win.

Men's team co-ordinator Simon King said it was an enjoyable weekend. "On the field it's pretty competitive, but it's pretty social among all the associations off the field," he said.

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