The Perth Thundersticks Women’s and Men’s teams will return home with precious points after outlasting Adelaide Fire at MATE Stadium in the final double header of Round 5 of the JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season.
The Thundersticks Women became the first team to cement their place at this year’s Finals Main Event as they recorded their fourth straight win courtesy of a 4-0 result, the loss all but extinguishing Adelaide Fire Women’s finals aspirations with two rounds to go.
Billed as a mini final, the men’s match lived up to the occasion. In a hard fought encounter, the Thundersticks did enough to come away with a 3-0 victory to lift themselves back into the top four.
Facing a desperate Adelaide Fire team aiming to keep their season alive, the top of the table Thundersticks Women broke the deadlock in the 11th minute.
Hockeyroos defender Penny Squibb thundered a ball in from just inside the attacking 25 and former South African international Liné Malan ghosted in front of her marker to expertly put the ball into the back of the net.
Malan followed it up with a successful conversion to have the Thundersticks 2-0 ahead.
The home side had a chance to respond with two penalty corners late in the first quarter but they could not make them count.
Three minutes into the second half Perth had a three goal buffer when Lexie Pickering got a stick to a Squibb slap shot from the penalty corner, the ball finishing in the roof of the net.
When Player of the Match Elyssa Melville added the Thundersticks’ fourth in the 39th minute it put the exclamation mark on another memorable day out for the Western Australians, who have now scored 13 goals and conceded just two in the campaign.
“In every game it’s a fight and with every game there is a bit more pressure and our girls are really stepping up to the challenge,” said Thundersticks forward Shanea Tonkin.
“Everyone is really eager…really into it and is so competitive, so it’s really nice to be a part of.”
In a men’s match that would see the loser with a mountain to climb to have any chance of qualifying for the finals, Kookaburras and Perth forward Tom Wickham had an early sight on goal in a lively opening.
Both sides were finding it tough to generate golden opportunities until a pinpoint James Day overhead from inside his own half opened the door for the Thundersticks to go ahead.
Bryn De Bes did superbly to bring the overhead under control near the baseline before cutting inside and firing a shot on the turn. Adelaide Fire goalkeeper Jed Snowden managed to get in the way before the ball fell to Matthew Willis who instinctively knocked it in with a clever backhand shot. He then duly dispatched the conversion to make it 2-0 after 19 minutes.
Adelaide Fire could not make a penalty corner opportunity count with three minutes to go in the second half as the game remained in the balance despite Perth’s slender lead.
As the urgency and desperation increased with every minute that ticked down, Snowden came up huge to deny Alistair Murray after a superb run down the right from Matt Bird created the chance.
Snowden’s heroics almost paid immediate dividends when Kyton Rayner crashed a tomahawk moments later only to see the ball cannon into the right post.
It was the closet Adelaide would come as Day fired home a drag flick in the final minute to seal the win.
“It was hard work. Adelaide were really resilient. We knew it would be a grind,” said Perth’s Tim Geers.
“For us it was about sticking to our processes, trusting each other and creating enough opportunities.”
“Adelaide was relentless with their pressure and we don’t like to play the game on transition…we like to hold the ball particularly in our front half.”
“Today’s result was obviously important for us…like today we need to treat the rest of the games like finals.”
Every match of the JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season is LIVE and free on 7plus.
Match Details – Women’s Match
Adelaide Fire 0
Perth Thundersticks 4 (Malan 11’/11’, Pickering 33’, Melville 39’)
Sunday 5 November 2023
Adelaide Fire Women’s team: 2.Brittany Wang, 3.Sherilyn Cass, 5.Holly Evans-Gill, 6.Euleena Maclachlan (c), 8.Miki Spano, 11.Lucy Sharman, 12.Erin Cameron, 13.Hattie Shand, 15.Brooke Peris, 17.Katie Sharkey, 18.Anna Crowley, 22.Zoe Newman (gk), 25.Jane Claxton, 26.Linzi Appleyard, 27.Gabriella Mitreska
Perth Thundersticks Women’s team: 1.Pippa Morgan, 4.Elyssa Melville, 6.Sarah Byrnes, 7.Penny Squibb, 8.Georgia Wilson, 9.Shanea Tonkin, 10.Jesse Reid, 11.Rachel Frusher (c), 12.Liné Malan, 13.Lexie Pickering, 14.Elizabeth Duguid (gk), 17.Annie Gibbs, 18.Renee Rockliff, 19.Georgina Dowd, 20.Karri Somerville
Match Details – Men’s Match
Adelaide Fire 0
Perth Thundersticks 3 (Willis 19’/19’, Day 60’)
Sunday 5 November 2023
Adelaide Fire Men’s team: 1.Kieran Govers, 2.Connor Richmond-Spouse, 4.Jack Holland, 6.Matthew Magann, 7.Peter Scott, 9.Fred Gray (c), 10.Lachlan Arneil, 11.Kyton Rayner, 12.Mitchell Dell, 13.Alastair Oliver, 14.Fraser Heigh, 16.Hugh Snowden, 17.Charl Ulrich, 21.Jed Snowden (gk), 25.Jethro Eustice
Perth Thundersticks Men’s team: 1.Matthew Bird, 3.Tim Geers, 4.Jake Harvie, 5.Tom Wickham, 6.Bryn De Bes, 9.James Day, 11.Tom Harvie, 12.Alistair Murray, 13.Brayden King, 14.Matthew Willis, 15.Liam Flynn, 17.Aran Zalewski (c), 18.Ben Rennie (gk), 20.Frank Main, 26.James Collins