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Tight action in Geraldton Hockey Association as finals get under way

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Yacht Club's Hayley McGlynn heads forward as Swans' Kimberley Watts gives chase. Arctic Moon Photography
Camera IconYacht Club's Hayley McGlynn heads forward as Swans' Kimberley Watts gives chase. Arctic Moon Photography Credit: Arctic Moon Photography

Finals action got under way across the grades of the Geraldton Hockey Association as some fought for their place in the decider while others were fighting to keep their season alive for one more week.

In the men’s A-Grade first semifinal the Saints took on the Australs for a shot at the preliminary final.

Australs enjoyed recent success over the Saints beating them 2-1 just over a fortnight ago but the Saints boasted the better record and were coming off a huge upset over Casuals to be the only team to beat the league leaders this season.

But it was the Australs who came up trumps once again with a 4-0 result thanks to singles from Kane Trenaman, Amos Stieger, Daniel Zinetti and Nate Mackay.

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Zinetti Stieger and Trenaman were all named among the best as the Saints could find no answers despite the efforts of Jack Hoskins, Matthew O’Neill and Tim Negri.

The Saints’ season is over while Australs will move on to face the Casuals after they beat the Rovers 4-1 in the second semifinal.

Casuals have been the best team in the league by a huge margin finishing 20 points ahead of the Rovers in second but they did lose their first game in the previous round to offer the Rovers a sliver of hope.

But there was to be no upset as Clint Yeates scored a double and Daniel Golding found the goals again along with Lachlan Camerer to set up a comfortable victory.

Kye McVee was the sole scorer for Rovers but they were outclassed by the Casuals’ might.

The women’s A-Grade also saw the Australs defeat the Saints in the first semifinal though this was a much closer affair with Australs winning 2-1.

Australs were coming off back-to-back losses against the top two sides in the comp but had won their last meeting against the Saints.

The Saints had won only two out of their last seven matches both against the bottom side but were in the contest thanks to a goal from Renee Marchetti.

However the Australs would repeat the 2-1 scoreline thanks to a double from Jenna Johnson and will move on to face Murchison in the preliminary final.

Murchison were always up against it in semifinal two, facing the Cardinals who had the perfect season winning all 16 of their matches.

They were too strong once again with goals to Mikala Van Niftrik, Sian Crudeli, Kiara Jones and Gemma Dix with excellent support from Alice Stieger and Jess Giudice-Nairn.

Abby Stribley was the goal scorer for Murchison but despite the efforts of Brooke Elward, Darcie Newman and Sophie Stribley they could not match the Cardinals and it is difficult to see anyone who can stop them.

The men’s A-Reserve saw two tense matches as the Saints caused an upset to down the Rovers 1-0 in the first semifinal.

Having finished fourth some nine points and 27 goals behind the Rovers they were coming in as the underdogs having also lost their most recent meeting 2-1.

But Lloyd Cripps was the hero with his solo effort enough to decide the contest on the back of some resolute defence as Rovers were held scoreless for the first time in a month.

There was another upset in the second semifinal as Yacht Club won a thriller over Casuals 3-2 to earn a direct route to the grand final.

Casuals had finished top of the ladder and not lost since June but they were held to a two-all draw when these teams met in the final round of the regular season.

It would be a close match once again but Dean Schwarz, Kurt Davey and Jay O’Sullivan bettered the efforts of Jasper March and Darren Shepley to record the tight victory.

The women’s A-Reserve has been the tightest competition of the top four grades with Yacht Club and Murchison separated by just three points in third and fourth respectively.

But Yacht Club has the better recent record as Margot Bell ensured they would live on for another week with a double cancelling out Rhinna Deering’s goal for Murchison.

Kerry Jeffery, Stacey Jerrard and Sara Ramsay were among the best for Yacht Club with Georgia Fitzgerald, Madelen Ahearn and Melanie Love the standouts for Murchison.

It was an all-Saints final in the other match with Saints Gold taking on Saints Black.

Gold lost their only match of the season to Black in their last encounter but the minor premiers did not falter this time with a double for Jaimee Wheatley helping them secure a 4-2 win.

All preliminary finals will take place this Saturday starting with the women’s A-Reserve game between Saints Black and Yacht Club at 1.30pm.

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