LAST weekend saw Wagin Women’s A-grade have a double header fixture, with one game on Friday night, followed by another game scheduled for Sunday afternoon, due to the classic league match played in Narrogin on Saturday.
The team has suffered a few player shortages over the past few weeks with injury and other commitments, leaving the team short on numerous occasions.
However, with the benefit of the B-grade team, the girls have been able to call on a number of highly competent fill-ins.
Friday night, in what was extremely chilly conditions, saw Wagin front up against a very strong Mighty Ducks.
With numbers tight, and the call up of a couple of girls from B-grade and Penny Shackley from Woodanilling, Wagin started the game with 12 players.
Coach Lydiate emphasised the need to play a little defensive for this game, but to Wagin’s credit, they went out with confidence and took on the Mighty Ducks with attack.
Wagin’s back line in Lyn Lucas in goals and Leah Kellow and Fiona Kirk at fullback had their work cut out for them, denying the attack of Mighty ducks and managed to feed the ball back out into Wagin’s mid field.
Here, Rachel Pederick, Tara Lydiate and Stacey Robinson, along with the awaiting forwards Emily Holt, Alice Lydiate, Brooke Pugh, Zali Spencer and Ylana Bairstow, were ready to pounce on any ball that made it through to them.
Midway through the first half, Mighty Ducks made a strong attack on Wagin’s back line and after a random ball was hit through the defensive circle, an unfortunate deflection from a Wagin stick saw the ball into the back of the net, giving Mighty Ducks a goal lead going into half time.
Coach Lydiate, extremely delighted with the standard of play so far, encouraged the girls back out into the second half, with nothing to lose.
A couple of substitutions and position changes saw Penny Shackley, a very welcome fill-in from Woodanilling, add running ability through the centre of the field, which gave Wagin’s forwards extra run into attack.
Three quarters of the way through the second half, a free hit was awarded to Wagin in the 25 yard zone, where Leah Kellow struck the ball sweetly into the circle, before a sliding Brooke Pugh deflected the ball past the goalie, and into the net, levelling the score at one-all.
A dispute from the Mighty Ducks on ruling was denied by the umpires, which seemed to unsettle their players giving Wagin an extra lift.
Tara Lydiate ran her heart out to deny the dominant Mighty Ducks’ centre half any chance of breaking through to their forwards.
Time was on Wagin’s side, with Mighty ducks making every effort to put one more score on the board, but the final siren sounded with a one-all draw.
Umpires votes for the game went to Emily Holt, Leah Kellow and Penny Shackley, with the goal scorer Brooke Pugh.
With a day’s recovery, Wagin had to front up to Warriors, who have been victorious on both meetings in the season.
Again, Wagin relied on the B-grade girls willing to step up, in Jen Bickers, Stacey Robinson, Mel Ball and Rachel Pederick.
With the sun shining this time, Wagin were warmed up, and again coach Lydiate advised to play a little defensive.
With the welcome return of Monique Lydiate from illness, stepping into Wagin’s backline with Lyn Lucas in goals, and Fiona Kirk as the other fullback, Leah Kellow was put back in the forward line, adding strength and legs to their attack.
Sally Thomson was also welcomed back at right half, working with Tara Lydiate at centre half, and Rachel Pederick on the left.
Ten minutes into the first half saw Wagin’s forward line attack the Warriors defence, with Emily Holt and Alice Lydiate working well together, with the support of Zali Spencer, Stacey Robinson, and Brooke Pugh, managing to move the ball into Warriors defence and past the goalie.
With Emily Holt awarded the goal, Wagin took a 1-0 lead.
Warriors counter attacked, but were denied by Wagin’s back line, with the ball being fed back into attack.
Communication was great amongst the players, which helped the ball back into Wagin’s attack, and with some scrappy play, and determination from Tara Lydiate and Emily Holt, the ball became free, with Holt pouncing on it straight away, to sneak it past the Warriors gaolie yet again, taking the score to a 2-0 lead.
A number of substitutions saw the inclusion of Jen Bickers onto the wing, as well as Mel Ball on the other side.
Warriors weren’t going to sit back and watch the game fall out of their reach, and on a counter attack, managed a penalty corner.
Their conversion was successful, and the teams went into half time with the score at 2-1 to Wagin.
Coach Lydiate again offered words of encouragement and delight at the girls work load and commitment, which gave the Wagin girls more determination to run into the second half and secure the game.
Within minutes of the second half commencing, Wagin’s attack on the Warriors defence was rewarded with a hat trick goal to Holt, taking the lead to 3-1, with plenty of fuel in the tank.
Warriors weren’t about to sit back and admit defeat, and made numerous attacks on Wagin’s defence, with some near misses, and great saves coming from Lucas in goals.
Again, Wagin ran the ball out of defence, and into their attack with a run into the circle resulting in a penalty corner being awarded.
A precise pass out from Tara Lydiate to Leah Kellow at the top, saw the ball hit sweetly, and through the last line of Warriors defence, into the back of the net, for a final score of 4-1 to Wagin.
Umpires votes went to Alice Lydiate, Emily Holt and Fiona Kirk, with the goal scorers Emily Holt 3 and Leah Kellow 1.
Coach Lydiate was extremely happy with the dedication shown by all the girls, and thanked those who helped us out from the B-grade team.
Overall, it was a very successful weekend by the Wagin girls, and the commitment from the B-grade players was to be commended.
Next weekend sees the Wagin A-grade with a bye, but all players are needed to commit for the next few weeks after that, as the weekends of August 11 and 18 both involve double headers, with the finals campaign to follow.
If any players are unavailable for either of these dates, please let the captains Emily Holt or Leah Kellow know as soon as possible, so that the team can ensure sufficient numbers from week to week.