A Tatiara U16 mixed hockey team competed in the South West Games at Hamilton on November 11.
Tatiara representatives were: Osten and Abbey Martin, Jake and Sarah Andersen, Marc and Elina Rowsell, Xavier Barr, Connor Butler, Connor Perry, Will Krop, Emilee Stone, Hayley Wood, Indianna Woodall and Nikki Taylor.
Under the guidance of coach Linda Andersen and assistant coaches Clarry Martin and Craig Rowsell the team played four games against various teams from Western Victoria.
As the team watched the sunrise from the bus windows, we armed ourselves with coffee and set off for Hamilton and the excitement of artificial turf hockey fields.
Our first game against Misfits (Glenelg Regional team) started off hard and fast. The quick pace and different playing surface caught the Tatiara team by surprise, however they managed to hold strong, keeping the Misfits to 4 goals against us.
The second game was against West Vic, a very strong and dominant opponent, knowing they had just won their previous game 11-0. With the weather warming up quickly and players running hard, Tatiara held them back well for the first half, to a 3-0 score.
During the second half we couldn’t break through and in a game where the score did not reflect the quality of the hockey, the final score was West Vic 7 Tatiara 0. Xaviar Barr played an outstanding game of hockey in goals and is to be commended on the number of saves he made.
Our third game was against Portland and Tatiara had found their second wind during the lunch break! The game started with Tatiara fighting hard and starting to communicate, their persistence paid off with a goal from Nikki Taylor. For most of the game it looked like Tatiara may win or at least draw with Portland however a sneaky goal in the last few minutes of the game saw Portland walk away with the win 2-1.
With the confidence of turf hockey skills building, Tatiara headed into their last game of the day saving the best until last. Tatiara worked well together and it showed as excitement built on the sidelines. Both teams brought the best out in each other with Warrnambool scoring the first goal.
Tatiara answered back quickly, through a long pass from Osten Martin on the defensive 25 yard line direct to Jake Andersen at the top of the circle for a direct shot into goals. Tatiara scored a second goal from Elina Rowsell in the last minute of the game.
Spectators were all on the edge of their seats as they anxiously watched seconds of the game tick by. Finally, the timer sounded and Tatiara walked away with their first win, defeating Warrnambool 2-1.
All of those involved enjoyed their day of South West Games hockey, and look forward to representing Tatiara again next year.