The Wimmera Hockey Association season drew to a close on Saturday with three worthy premiers crowned, but only after three intense grand final games.
The Kaniva Cobras came agonisingly close to their first premiership when they were able to push the Yanac Tigers for the entire match only to finish one goal short of the title.
Kaniva made a strong start but the Tigers soon exerted the dominance that they have shown throughout the season and found the back of the net midway through the first half.
Kaniva replied with a scrappy goal six minutes later, but the Tigers had extended its lead to three goals to one by half-time.
Eleven minutes after the break the Cobras narrowed the lead with a converted penalty corner, and this was followed by 20 minutes of intense hockey, with both teams earning multiple penalty corners but solid defence prevented any further scoring. Luke Shalders, of the Cobras, was named best player in the game.
After winning the Women’s title last year, the Dimboola Roos also set the pace this season and went into the grand final having won 15 of their 16 games.
The reigning premiers dominated play early, with the Yanac Women unable to curtail the Roos’ strong long passing game.
Captain Elizabeth Klinge converted a penalty corner after 10 minutes to take the lead for Dimboola, which they maintained up until the half-time break.
A slick passage of play involving Susan Hedt, Mikayla Famers and Louise Bone resulted in a goal to Yanac soon after the re-start which evened the score.
A penalty corner awarded to Dimboola in the dying seconds of the game presented them with the opportunity to snatch the game after the final whistle, but the Yanac defenders held strong and prevented any score which forced the game into extra time.
Scores remained deadlocked after extra time. The next process to find a winner involved a series of five penalty strokes by each team. The final score – a five-goal to three victory to the Roos.
Best on ground was Roos’ Elizabeth Klinge.
The home and away season results suggested that the Under 16 grand final between Warrack Revengers and the Nhill Leopards would be one of the closest in recent history.
It was the Revengers who opened the scoring after only five minutes of play. The Leopards fought back hard and midway through the first half evened the scores.
The game was played out in an intense manner, with both teams creating chances. After a tough battle, the premiership went to the Revengers with a three-goal to one final scoreline.
Best player went to Sandon Schultz (Warrack Revengers).