Kevin Foale attempts to move the ball past Wade Enright. Cam Forrest prepares to hit the ball past White player Paul Ward to teammate Lance Mudgeway.
IF THERE was a derby worth watching on the weekend it wasn’t in the AFL, but was in fact in Wagin on Saturday afternoon, when Wagin Black took on Wagin White in the men’s hockey.
Wagin White won both derbies last year and were looking to make it 3-0, though Wagin Black are a much improved side and wanted to continue their unbeaten start to the year.
There was a lot at stake, including four valuable points and bragging rights in what is a tough competition this year.
Wagin Black had a few late withdrawals with Owain Fiander, Blair Forrest, Xavier White and Ben Kirk all being unavailable, though thankfully Phil Blight came to the rescue to give Black a sub.
Wagin White were excited to see club champion Paul Ward back for his first game of the year and Zac Ward coming back from Perth for the game.
Unfortunately White were still missing one of their best in Kim Hough who is recovering from an injury he received in the first game of the year.
Both teams knew a fast start would be required and whoever could get a goal on the board early stood the best chance of winning.
The game started at a furious pace with both teams pressing hard in attack and running back in defence.
There were a few opportunities early as Black’s forwards looked on song but they failed to finish the job and were wasteful in front of goal.
White was getting better as the game wore on and they settled into a nice pace controlling the ball and having a few opportunities themselves.
Kevin Foale was doing a great job of building pressure on Black as every time they tried to get the ball out of defence White players cut it off and sent it back in.
Black then got a great opportunity to counter attack as a player turned the ball over and their players streamed forward.
The ball was contested in the D and after a few misses Sam West jumped on a loose ball and smashed it into the goal giving his team a great confidence boost.
One goal to nil soon became 2-0 as one of White’s defenders made a mistake passing the ball across the field only to see Dwight Kellow intercept the ball and run into an open D.
Kellow took one look at the goals and sent the ball flying into the top corner giving White’s goalie no chance what so ever.
This fired Black up and they seemed to be running over the top of White, but that all changed quickly as attack turned to defence and the ball was turned over in the middle of the field.
The ball was carried the length of the ground to Paul Ward, who wasted no time scoring his first goal for the year.
The score was then 2-1 and it was Whites turn to put the pressure on Black.
White was unlucky on a number of occasions and only Shane Bliss in goals and Cam Forrest and Nathan Cook in defence stopped them from getting an equaliser.
With half-time nearing the pace hadn’t slowed down at all and both teams were continually at each other.
Black then got the first lucky break when Chris Norwell scored a brilliant goal after he found himself all alone in the middle of the D.
It looked like the score line would be 3-1 at half-time but with 20 seconds to go Paul Ward had other ideas, stealing the ball from Black’s defenders and running it into the D, before slamming it through the legs of Bliss just as the whistle went for half-time.
This gave White a lot of confidence and they knew they were far from out of the game.
White took this confidence and converted another goal to level the game at 3-3 just minutes after the half-time break, as Zac Ward sent a great ball into the D to Paul Ward who was too good for the defence, scoring his hat-trick in an impressive return to hockey.
With the scores tied the game was anybody’s and both teams stepped it up trying to find the match winning goal.
For White Sid Elliot and Alan Anothony were working overtime down back keeping Black’s forwards out and Ty Cook, Kevin Foale and Bryce Stephens were working extremely hard setting up the rest of their teammates.
Black were doing the same though with Darren Spencer, Blight and Dale Lloyd all trying to set up the play and Brenden Hall, Wade Enright and Kellow doing a lot of the running and play making.
For 10 minutes no team could break the deadlock until Black’s captain Wade Enright decided to take the game on and win it for his team.
After some great work from his teammates he found himself in the D and converted the goal making the score 4-3 and giving Black a bit of breathing space.
For the next 20 minutes the ball went from one defence to the other over and over again but no one could break through and score another goal.
The final whistle went and Black had held strong winning the game 4-3.
It was a close and hard-fought game, with both teams happy with how they played and behaved on the field.
Although both teams had a lot of chances to win, in the end it was the finishing skills of Wagin Black’s players that narrowly got them over the line.
After the game both teams got together and shared a drink and it was a great social day for the Wagin Hockey Club.
The club thanked Emily Holt and Fiona Kirk for umpiring as well as everyone who turned up to watch and support the teams.
Best players for Wagin Black were Dwight Kellow, Cam Forrest and Wade Enright and for Wagin White, Kevin Foale, Ty Cook and Alan Anothony.
The goal scorers for Wagin Black were Sam West 1, Dwight Kellow 1, Chris Norwell 1 and Wade Enright 1 and for Wagin White was Paul Ward 3.
Both teams have a bye this weekend.
The next games are on June 9 with Wagin White playing All Blacks in Narrogin at 6.55pm and Wagin Black playing Olympics at 8.20pm.