Two teams representing the Wimmera Hockey Association played in the Victorian Country Championships over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
The Open team finished the preliminary rounds in equal second place on the ladder in division two, but a count back relegated them to contesting the third place playoff game. This proved to be a tough high scoring game against the pre-tournament favourites, East Gippsland, which the Wimmera lost by only one goal.
The Women’s team played in the A2 division and finished as runners-up having risen from fourth place after the early games to play in the grand final against a strong Geelong team.
The Wimmera Senior Open team had to venture to a new venue this year for the Men’s Senior Country Championships.
A first up loss to East Gippsland by five goals was followed up with a three all draw with Sunraysia.
The team was placed fourth on the ladder at the end of competition on the first day.
Sunday yielded three wins, with victories over eventual premiers Latrobe by 2 goals, Warrnambool by 3 goals to 2, and by 5 goals over North Central.
Although they finished equal on both points and goal difference with the second-placed team, the total number of goals scored saw the Wimmera team relegated to third place.
In the playoff game for third and fourth places against East Gippsland, the Wimmera started strongly with Marcus Williamson converting a penalty stroke early.
Both teams then went goal for goal until late in the game when East Gippsland took the lead and maintained it until the final whistle.
The Wimmera Hockey Association entered one team in the A2 Division of the Women’s Senior Country Championships.
At the halfway point of the preliminary games, the Wimmera team was in third place, equal on points with the second-placed team.
On Sunday morning, the Wimmera team took on the Latrobe Valley and although they had a few opportunities in attack they were unable to convert. Their final preliminary game was against Geelong. The defence performed well under pressure but Geelong was able to find the goals three times.
After being defeated by their semi-final opponent Sunraysia by 3 goals in the preliminary rounds, the Wimmera team claimed victory, progressing to the ultimate game of the tournament.
Geelong proved to be a challenging opponent in the grand final and the Wimmera finished the tournament as runners-up, 5-3.