Hockey: Double delight for Uni A in finals

University A players show their delight at beating Taieri A 3-0 in the Dunedin premier women's...
University A players show their delight at beating Taieri A 3-0 in the Dunedin premier women's hockey final at the McMillan Centre on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
University A celebrated a rare double when it claimed both men's and women's titles in premier club finals on Saturday.

Both games were thrillers, with University A beating strong favourite Albany A 3-2 in the men's final and University beating Taieri A 3-0 on strokes after the women's final finished 0-0.

The women's final was a cracking game, even though neither side could score in regular or extra time.

Both teams lifted for the final, particularly at the defensive ends, which resulted in several penalty corners going unconverted.

The game began with University attacking down the right side and central Taieri defender Susan Dunn placing long clearances to relieve pressure.

It then became a midfield battle, with Taieri's Kirsty Cole and Hayley Bayne working hard to cancel out the University forwards.

University maintained plenty of possession, passing around the backs in a controlled and careful way.

Anna Chapman ran the ball well, showing great skills to win a penalty corner that was not converted.

After half-time, the students created a good scoring opportunity but the shot was struck outside the circle.

Taieri captain Vicky Clark-Joyce went off injured and University had three penalty corners in a row, but Taieri defended with resolve.

Reactions enabled goalkeeper Holly McDiarmid to make two magnificent saves before she stopped a controversial stroke to keep the game scoreless at full-time.

Taieri had a good opportunity to score a golden goal in extra time but a penalty corner went astray.

The game went to strokes, and University proved more accurate.

The men's final was an intense encounter that featured end-to-end hockey from the first whistle.

The teams traded penalty corners before University hit the lead 10 minutes before half-time.

Having been awarded a penalty corner, Richard Story took the initial shot, which was blocked, but Chris Ashton drove the rebound into the top of the net.

After the break, University added a second goal through Scott Fitzpatrick, who collected a rebound off Albany goalkeeper Myles Roberts' pads.

Michael Smail collected a yellow card for cleaning Ashton out of a penalty corner, and from there the game slowly turned towards Albany.

Rod Rzepecky scored from an Albany penalty corner, then minutes later Callum Bailey levelled the scores with a brilliantly executed tumbling reverse shot past James Cocking.

From that point, both teams threw everything at each other.

University piled on the pressure through the midfield and Albany gained ground with piercing runs and accurate overhead passes.

The students eventually broke the deadlock through Myles Houlahan, who connected with an Ashton cross to score the winning goal for University.

In the other men's finals, Kings B beat Albany B 4-2 in the premier reserve grade, while City Highlanders B beat Albany C 1-0 in the senior grade.

 

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