HockeyPanthers are the champions

IT’S OURS: Panthers’ captain Amanda Saladine holds the trophy aloft at the presentation. lm091015pan8IT was the same two teams meeting this year that battled out the Premier League hockey grand final in 2014.
Nanjing Night Net

The result was a carbon copy of last year when the Panthers defeated Bathurst City to defend their title.

Lithgow took the match 3-1 and this year it was all the even more sweeter for the players as they won the title in front of their home town fans and not in Bathurst.

Relief, joy and exhaustion were all the feelings that pulsated through the players after what was an extremely fast, tough and high standard grand final.

Bathurst City are a very fast side with dangerous and experienced strikers.

It was testament of the defence of youngsters goalie Jess Luchetti, Andrea Gillard, Katie Dowler, Keely Newham and Bonnie Goodsell that they kept them to only one goal.

The two sides have had some titanic struggles in their meetings this year, but the Panthers were clearly a class above them on the day with their teamwork and playing patterns a deciding factor.

It took only four minutes for the Panthers to register their first goal when Abby Wilson made a good break and sent a perfect pass to Amanda Saladine who smashed it past goalie Maddy Tattersall.

Bathurst City hit back five minutes later when a mix up in the circle saw the Panthers fail to clear the ball for Kelly Baker to swoop on a lose ball to even up the scores.

Panthers dominated and were unlucky not to add to their score when a shot hit the posts and rebounded away.

City goalie Maddy Tattersall was great, just as she was in the major semi, keeping the Panthers’ attack out with the scores standing at 1-all at the break.

Coach Ron Charlton spoke to his players reminding them to be composed and be smart once they got into the City’s circle.

The words for the second half were to be cool, calm and collected.

Ten minutes into the second half, they received a short corner after some concentrated attack and the Lithgow side worked a good move to get the ball to Amanda Saladine who was on the top of the circle to smash it home to put her side up 2-1.

Midway through the half Amy Capaldi made a good run to get the ball into the circle and Roxsanne Van Veen showed good reflexes to pluck the ball out of the air and put it into the back of the net for a 3-1 lead.

City tried to come back but the Panther defence was too strong with goalie Jess Luchetti entertaining the appreciative crowd with some good saves including one diving save.

Time ran out for City and the trophy for the second time in two years belonged to the Lithgow Panthers.

A special mention goes to the ‘babies’ of the team Katie Hamment and Hannah Kable who played like veterans and also to the team’s three veterans Amanda Saladine, Lauren Judge and Roxsanne Van Veen who were standouts in a team where everyone contributed to the excellent win.

The future for the Panthers looks bright as the team boasts many exciting young players.

Presentations

Following the game, the presentations were made in the clubhouse and chaired by Maureen Markwick of Bathurst who congratulated both teams on behalf of Premier League and also thanked the umpires and tech bench people.

She announced the competition’s highest goalscorer that went to Lithgow’s Amanda Saladine.

Dubbo Bluejays’ Alex Waters was the Player of the Year for Premier League and the Player of the Grand Final went to Panthers’ Andrea Gillard.

Panthers’ captain Amanda Saladine called her players up one by one to present them with their winning medals along with coach Ron Charlton and manager Donna Quinn who did such a good job.

She also thanked all those who helped make the season the success it was and added that she was proud play with such a great group of girls..

More pictures from the grand final appear on pages 22 and 23 and on

the Mercury website gallery

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.