Queensland’s Women’s Team and Western Australia’s Men’s Team are the toast of Australian country hockey after winning the national Country Championships in Shepparton on the weekend.
The Queensland Women made it back-to-back titles after prevailing in one the most exciting finishes to a Country Championships match on record, outlasting New South Wales 4-3 in a shootout after scores were locked 3-3 at full time.
In a repeat of the two teams that battled out for the 2022 gold medal, both sides had eight penalty corners in the match, with Queensland captain Holly Gilbar eventually scoring the winning shootout after six attempts each.
The Men’s gold medal match was just as drama filled. In a final that produced 14 penalty corners, four yellow cards, three green cards and a missed penalty stroke, it was Brayden Dalton’s 40th minute goal that proved the difference as Western Australia edged out Victoria 1-0.
The Victorians reached the decider by producing a come from behind 2-1 win over defending champions Queensland, while Western Australia progressed courtesy of a 4-2 victory over New South Wales.
Queensland won the men’s bronze medal with a 4-1 victory over New South Wales, all five goals coming from the 45th minute onwards.
Victoria claimed bronze in the women’s competition thanks to a double from Lourdes Estigarria in a 2-1 win against the Australian Defence Force.
The final day capped off an action-packed week of hockey in the regional Victorian city, which saw 93 goals scored in the women’s competition and 95 in the men’s event.
Gilbar was named the Women’s Player of the Tournament, with Victoria’s Jayden Schram crowned the Men’s Most Valuable Player.
New South Wales had the tournament’s leading goal scorers in both the women and the men. Amelia Leard finished as the women’s highest scorer with 12, while Brandan Horner was the Men’s Leading Goal Scorer with 16 goals, nine more than the next best.
This year’s event was made possible thanks to Greater Shepparton City Council and the Goulburn Valley Hockey Association.
2023 Hockey Australia Country Championships
5-12 August 2023
Goulburn Valley Hockey Association, Shepparton VIC
Women’s match results and final standings
Gold Medal – Queensland
Silver Medal – New South Wales
Bronze Medal – Victoria
Player of the Tournament – Holly Gilbar (QLD)
Top Goal Scorer – Amelia Leard (NSW)
Play the Whistle Award – Australian Defence Force
Umpires of the Gold Medal Match – Iris Milham, Claudia Hartas
Technical Official of the Gold Medal Match – Taela Eggers
Umpires of the Bronze Medal Match – Madeline Smith-Gander, Helen Kura
Technical Official of the Bronze Medal Match – Taela Eggers
Men’s match results and final standings
Gold Medal – Western Australia
Silver Medal – Victoria
Bronze Medal – Queensland
Player of the Tournament – Jayden Schram (VIC)
Top Goal Scorer – Brandan Horner (NSW)
Play the Whistle Award – South Australia
Umpires of the Gold Medal Match – Liam McLaren, Peter Roberts
Technical Official of the Gold Medal Match – Maree Whitchurch
Umpires of the Bronze Medal Match – Adam Smetana, Bailey Davis
Technical Official of the Bronze Medal Match – Kerrie Brown
Photos courtesy of Holly Daniel Pix