And that’s the Under 17 Metro premiership for Sutho – in extra time, too! – Rory Staples picture
The senior competition came to an end for Sutho in 2018 when our fantastically fabulous 4th Grade fought to the last against University of Sydney on Saturday morning.
It was a tough grind for both teams: the 10 a.m. start combined with windless, 30-degree conditions in an oven-like setting at Homebush didn’t suit either team. Uni only got away in the last stages of the game, so congratulations to the guys for a wonderful season-long effort.
We won one and missed one in the U17 and Under 15 Metro grand finals on Friday night. See the U17 extra-time saga below.
But wait – there’s more junior hockey this weekend, with a raft of Sutho teams playing in grand finals at Moorebank on Sunday.
Our U11B Blue Tongues and U13A Geckos both have games at 8.45, while at 10.15 no less than three Sutho teams (count ’em) line up: U13B Blue Tongues, U11B Bearded Dragons and U15A Geckos.
Then to top off the morning, at 11.30 there’s the feature event of the day – the battle for U17 bragging rights. We can fearlessly predict that Sutho will win this: it’s going to be a Sutho v Sutho clash match fixture when the Geckos take on the Blue Tongues.
To all the players, coaches, managers, parents and supporters: have a wonderful day. Enjoy your games, our wonderful sport and respect the efforts both you and your opponents have made to get to grand finals.
Sutho 4th grade 0 Sydney Uni 2 Grand Final
The score line looks convincing . but at 0-0 with around 20 mins to go, this was still anyone’s game. In the end, Sydney Uni made the most of their few opportunities and that’s often how grand finals are won!
A 10 a.m. Grand Final is a pretty unusual experience in senior men’s hockey – but with the high temperatures forecast for the day, it didn’t seem such a bad idea from SHA. Whether it was the unusual game start time, or maybe just enthusiasm for the day, the whole team (including Sean) made it to the ground early for a change and enjoyed the 26 degree sunshine (at 9 a.m).
Of course we were into the change rooms pretty early – and to fill in time had some discussion about the infrequency of grand final appearances amongst the squad. For the U15 and U17 Sutho juniors in our team – who might regard playing in grand finals as nothing particularly exceptional – it must have been somewhat sobering to hear what life in seniors is like!
Nevertheless today was about playing Sydney Uni, and our record was 1 loss and a draw with them this season. More importantly, we came into the game having already disposed of 1st and 3rd placed teams on our path to the grand final.
We may not have been favourites, but we had great recent form!
By the time we got on the field, the temperature had hit the 30s and it was evident that the heat would certainly be a factor that had to be managed – by controlling the tempo of the game and through our rotations.
As such it was a defensive start to the game with Sydney Uni managing to keep us pinned in our defensive half for the first 5-10 mins. Although they had a couple of circle entries, they were low percentage and our defensive structures were excellent. Luke was called on to make a couple of easy saves which he did.
Sutho then managed to build some possession which saw us camped in our attacking half for long periods, showing good ball control and patience going into attack.
Our young striker line (and Wiggo) and midfield constantly applied the pressure when Sydney Uni had the ball, and this helped our midfield and defence win back easier ball in better attacking positions.
As we headed into half time, we noted that the (on average) older Sydney Uni team were slowing down and playing even more defensively. The half time stats showed Sydney Uni had 1 attacking short corner and 2 shots on goal while we had 2 shots on goal in our attack. It felt like our momentum was building.
The second half started in the same vein – with both defences dominating and no high quality opportunities in either attacking circle.
Unfortunately, Sydney Uni were awarded a possibly contentious short corner 15 minutes into the second half and through a well executed variation, scored via a deflection.
Despite being 0-1 down, Sutho rallied, maintained composure and continued to play the style we wanted, although Sydney Uni’s defence held out. We got our first (and only) attacking short corner with 15 minutes to go and our variation resulted in the shot hitting the outside corner of the post.
With 10 minutes to go they were playing a 10 man defence with one high striker.
We were committing our midfielders and wide backs to the attack and unfortunately a long clearing ball from their defence took a couple of deflections from Sutho sticks and ended up with their lone high striker.
He took it into the circle and despite some good scrambling by Luke and Richo, he managed to slip the ball into the back of the net… 0-2.
We didn’t panic, kept applying the pressure but the Sydney Uni defence was resolute and we just couldn’t get that final pass or shot on target.
At 0-2, we had lost the game but were certainly not humbled. Unfortunately we didn’t quite get our execution right on the day, whereas Sydney Uni made the most of their limited opportunities. Everyone had given 100% on the day, and in a team where we had three U15s and two U17s whose games all developed throughout the year, we were all incredibly proud of the achievement of making it through to the Grand Final.
Thank you to all the families and supporters who made it out to the game and those who couldn’t but sent messages. We only heard the Sydney Uni supporters when they scored the second goal, up until then we could only hear Sutho!
Finally – thanks to Jay and Brad who coached throughout the year and in the finals (particularly given Brad’s competing commitments to Junior hockey). Also a massive thank you to Piles who almost single-handedly kept enough communication going to keep seven highly competitive senior teams on the field each week throughout the season.
U17 Sutherland 3 def Ryde 2 Grand Final Pictures thanks to Rory Staples
Our previous two games against Ryde had been extremely close and decided by 1 goal – in the semi-final two weeks before we scored the winning goal from a penalty corner after full-time. So all the indications were for a close and intense struggle – and this game didn’t disappoint!
Ryde started with more running and energy at the contest – and their midfield pressure forced turnovers where we were slow to make a pass.
As we adapted to the intensity of the game we began to retain better ball control, and our passes began to reach their target.
We achieved our initial aim of being first on the scoreboard – and held that 1 goal advantage into the half-time break.
We played some of our best hockey through the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half, showing better control as Ryde’s intensity dropped a little. We got our reward around 10 minutes from full-time when Nic was in the right spot to receive a pass at the top of the D and then put a well controlled shot past the keeper.
At 0-2 down, Ryde redoubled their efforts and soon had their first goal on the board from a penalty corner. Suddenly our lead wasn’t “safe” and Ryde redoubled their efforts to save the game and their premiership hopes.
With the benefit of another penalty corner less than 2 minutes from full-time, Ryde again scored – and we were at 2-2 and facing sudden death extra time.
We started extra-time with 8 on the field against Ryde’s 9, courtesy of a player suspension, so now the odds were perhaps looking a bit better for Ryde. If you were a Ryde supporter.
Ryde started by pressing forward, but our defence held firm – and then it was our chance into attack. We had one opportunity in the D, but a mistrap and that was lost. Then Helena forced a turnover at the top of the D and with a few quick movements forward she put her shot past the advancing keeper – and safely into the net!
We had our win and thereby the 2018 u17 Metro premiership!
Goals: Helena 2, Nic 1.
Sutho U15 0 Briars 3 Pictures Rory Staples
We took on Briars after beating them in the major semifinals at Burwood.
The game started at a fast pace and we struggled from the start as a team to get the ball cleanly into attack, which provided Briars half a dozen opportunities down our left hand side. This flowed into 3-4 short corners against us.
With these opportunities Briars were able to score 2 goals in the first half with one off a short corner. We started to play a little better later in the 1st half with better marking and were able to push forward into attack and got ourselves back into the game, but were unable to get any real scoring opportunities or short corners.
We went into the break down 2-0.
We spoke at half time about stepping up and winning more of the 1 vs 1 contests and giving our all for the last 30 minutes.
After adjusting some player positions to give the team more options going forward in attack, a couple of players took the challenge on board and stepped up in the game which was great, but overall we again lost too many of 50-50% contests across the park.
There were too many skill errors in our passing and receiving and not being strong on the ball. While we did build some nice play into attack, at times we struggled to get any outcomes in our attacking circle.
Briars then scored a goal 3/4 of the way into the 2nd half which unfortunately resulted in many of the team dropping their heads with the score ending as 3-0 loss to us.
We knew Briars were beatable but they did have a couple of very strong boys in their team who stepped up and were the difference for thems in the Grand Final.
As a team we needed everyone to be at their best given it was a Grand Final but the score board got to a majority of the team in the end. It was disappointing result for our team but Briars with their strong boy contingent were the better team on the night.
U17 Blue Tongues 2 St George 0 – Semi Final Pictures thanks to Jay Kelly
The second was in round 7, where Sutho managed to get up 3-2 in a very tough match. The third, was just last week, where the game was unfortunately over before it started due to the weather.
Meeting this team in the semi final was always going to prove to be a tough competition, and the game on Friday lived up to all expectations.
The first half was a verifiable ping pong match, with both teams making advances up the field, only to be stopped by the opposing defenders.
Sutho managed to create good attacking opportunities from quick ball movement from the mids, but unfortunately were stopped in the circle by St George.
On the other hand, St George’s speed in the mids and up front created quick counterattacks, managing to stretch our defenders. Their efforts were rewarded in a short corner, which was thwarted by first runner Max. Despite opportunities by both teams, the half ended at a nil-all.
The second half was a seamless continuation of the first, with both teams creating opportunities but ultimately being shut down.
As both teams began to tire, mistakes by both led to attempts on goal, which were either narrowly missed or stopped by the keeper. This included an impressive save by our keeper Alec, who managed to save a goal, control the ball onto the ground, and make a clearing kick before the attacking St George could blink.
With 15 minutes to go in the game, the score was still locked at zit-all, and dugout heart rates were soaring into the 200s.
Having finished second in the round games, a draw would have resulted in Sutho going through to the grand final, but the likelihood of either team scoring was high enough to cause significant tension.
Having obviously felt this anxiety in the air, Ben decided to do something about it, and managed to pick up a long ball from down the line, turn and beat a defender and making a beeline to the circle.
Now, despite having it drilled into his head throughout the season to do the exact opposite, Ben decided to pull the ball onto his backstick. After hearing a disgruntled screech from the sideline, Ben realised his mistake, and decided to get a short corner instead.
He then turned around and apologised to the the bench, where Coach Mason had his head in his hands and his jaw on the ground. Jack luckily managed to convert the corner by dragging both first and second runners and slotting the ball between the keeper’s legs. 1-0!
With momentum on their side Sutho continued, managing to work the ball up the field and creating more attacking opportunities.
St George began to panic with 5 minutes to go, leading them to make desperate attempts to get the ball back, being rewarded by a couple of green triangles. Taking advantage of this, the Sutho attack managed to take the ball down the left hand side, round the baseline and pass across the goal face, right to Nibs’ stick waiting patiently on the post. 2-0!
To prevent any possible last minute resurgence from Saints, Ben nobly took one for the team and decided to put his knee in front of a flying ball.
Finally, with 45 seconds remaining, the bench took their first breath of the game, followed by a call of “perfect timing” from an unnamed coach. The game ended 2-0, with the Blue Tongues through the the Grand Final next week.
Congratulations to all the players on a great game and a great season so far.
Sutho U17 Geckos 5 Moorebank 1
The team went in with a strategic plan for our semi final against Moorebank at Kyeemagh.
However the first part didn’t go to that plan, with the field being locked until a couple of minutes before the game and our keeper getting injured in warm up.
But we buckled down and practiced team goals for strategic attack and defence. All of our goals were fantastic team goals, building up from behind. Iain and Han were very proud of the team’s execution.
Sutho U15A Geckos 3 St George Knights 3 Grand Final Qualifier
Finishing 2nd based on final round results, Sutho entered the Friday semi at Daceyville v 3rd placed St George Knights. After a 6-0 win in our last game against them 2 weeks prior, we knew the result would be different this time.
With our key goal scorer laid out at training the night before after a mishap with the gate, we weren’t sure he was going to be able to play, let alone have an impact.
As it turned out, we had little to worry about! With one of his first touches after coming on early in the game, and against the run of play, Adrian ran down the left from Halfway, beat the keeper and with an upright left handed strike clubbed the into the far side of the goal. 5 minutes later, he made a similar run and again beat the keeper for 2-0 lead.
Saints lifted, and with some poor defensive decisions, we gave away 2 corners late in the half, both of which they converted, for 2-2 half time score.
Sutho were playing too direct and straight up the field. We needed to play wider and with more lateral movement.
The second half was a very topsy turvy affair, with both sides pressuring the other side for 4 or 5 minute periods. Sutho cracked first, turning over the ball from defence which was swept into the goal.
The Geckos showed the grit they have all year, lifting and putting great pressure on Saints at the back. Some clever passing moves saw us earn a couple of corners. Eventually a slick passing movement found the ball to Adrian on the right of the circle, who slammed the ball for his hat trick and level scores, with 8 minutes left.
Sutho defended bravely and smartly, and held on for the draw, to qualify for the grand final, a result that reflects the effort and improvement since the July holiday break. Well done, but the job is not finished yet.
With coach Brad, Manager Kylie and DM Tahlia all away due the very late finish to the season, fortunately we have Sean Kelly taking training and coaching the game on Sunday, and Bex in charge of managerial duties.
Good luck to all. Play for your team and mates, seize the day and make it happen!
Goals: Adrian 3.
Sutho U15B Blue Tongues 1 Moorebank 3
The determined Blue Tongues arrived at Bankstown as the underdogs for the game against Moorebank. The team knew they were in for a tough match on Saturday.
The team worked hard to keep Moorebank from getting their first goal, with Ryan making some excellent saves, but they eventually conceded two goals in the first half.
The Sutho crowd erupted when Tom shot at goal and the ball hit the backboard behind the goalie, taking the scoreline to 2 – 1.
The team played well in the second half but unfortunately they couldn’t make their way into the grand final with Moorebank scoring again taking the full time score to 3 – 1.
Great work from Ryan in goals and great teamwork from the whole team. Thanks to the 15Bs for a fantastic 2018 season and making it one to remember.
Sutho U13A Geckos 5 Sharks 0
The Geckos went into the semi-final round knowing that at least a draw would see them through to the grand final the following week.
With this in mind David Richardson ran a constructive training session to emphasise a strong passing strategy against a team that would be looking to cause an upset.
Yes, the Geckos were the strong favourites, but the Sharks had more than capable players with equivalent levels of skill, that if not respected, could have resulted in a different outcome.
Goals from Matt (3), Jonty and Lachlan ensured the 5-0 win was secured and a place at the big show.
It was a very hot Saturday and having three subs was a relief! With regular changes during the game, the team can commend themselves on adjusting to rapid changes and understanding their position responsibilities when the time was required.
Lilly is the Gibraltar Rock of the team: she played a very consistent game and her inability to panic is a trait that other team members can aspire to.
Jett, Sohan, Matt and Corban designed most of the attacking plays and the team is very fortunate to have a large group of midfielders that set the forwards up from any angle.
The Tomas and Lachlan combination led to a great goal being scored past a State keeper and it just goes to show how what you practice at traing can be brought to reality in the game. Jonty’s goal was superb strike from just inside the circle – even though there may have been a touch on it before crossing the line, there was no chance of it missing.
All in all a great team performance, once that we hope can be repeated for the grand final.
Sutho U13B Thorny Devils 0 Sutho Blue Tongues 0 Pictures thanks to Matt Morris
A great match today with the Sutho V Sutho semi-final against the minor premier Blue Tongues. Weather conditions were tough with a spike in temperature forcing players to endure 30°C+ with no relief from a warm north-northwest breeze for this knockout semi-final.
The Thorny Devils needed a win to move through to the final, and unfortunately that was not the case today, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort, or skill, holding the ladder leaders out for the entire game, and creating striking opportunities in attack.
No personal mentions today, as all of the players left everything on the field, giving 100% effort in all positions.
It has been a great year of hockey, and a great group of players to be involved with.
Their attitudes and efforts on and off the field are a credit to themselves and their families, and you should be extremely proud.
It has been great to see every player improve in skill, fitness and teamwork throughout the season, and they have all developed their hockey game above expectation.
Thanks again to Garry for your guidance and coaching, it is very much appreciated.
Looking forward to next season already.
Sutho Under 13B Blue Tongues 0 Sutho Thorny Devils 0
Today’s game was extremely hard fought between both Sutho sides. The sportsmanship was great and the spirit of the game was very friendly and fun.
It was a nil-all draw ,which highlighted the consistency of both teams and how evenly matched they both are. It is a shame that both could not progress to the Grand Final next week.
Congratulations to the Thorny devils for a great game and season.
Good luck to the Blue Tongues next week in the Grand Final.
Sutho U11A Geckos 3 Glebe Back 2
Grand Finals here we come!
Yes, we are through to the Grand Finals next week after a hard fought win on Saturday morning. Congratulations Geckos!
We certainly had a taste for finals fever, leading to teams lifting their game by many notches. Considering this was a team we defeated 6-0 only a fortnight ago, the close result of the game gave us the experience not to take ANY team lightly.
Glebe’s defence held strong throughout the match, being tested by the Sutho attack over and over again. Their defenders and goal keeper worked hard in the heat to keep the score to only 1-0 at the half-time break.
The warm day, and dry turf made it difficult for both teams in the second half, but our persistence paid off with another two great goals.
Glebe fought back with two of their own, and the Geckos fell into a more defensive mode as the sun took its toll on their energy levels. There were many nail biting moments in the final minutes, but the team held strong and came away with the win.
Again, well done team, and we’ll see you all at training where we can refine our strategy to take into the big one next weekend. Until then, no injuries please 🙂
Sutho U11B Bearded Dragons 3 St George Randwick 2 Pictures thanks to Anna Domrow
Semi-final day had arrived, and so had a plague of insects which were clearly enjoying the steamy conditions at Kyeemagh.
It was the first semi-final for many of the Bearded Dragons and while they had finished the regular season undefeated this was new territory for the young team.
The occasion got the better of the Bearded Dragons early. The team seemed overzealous and lacked their usual composure. Some minor ill-discipline, and a controversial resultant penalty corner had the Bearded Dragons in a new position of being a goal behind on the scoreboard.
The Bearded Dragons fought back hard, but their shots were unable to penetrate the St George Randwick defence.
Parents on the sideline were pleading for patience, and also a can of Aerogard. Close to half time, Rohan approached on the right forward line, striking the ball hard, and it ricocheted nicely into goal. The Bearded Dragons were back in the game.
Some oranges and a talk from the coaches helped, as the Bearded Dragons began taking their time and playing within their structures in the second half.
Some handy work in the midfield was soon rewarded with a goal to Jack, again off a rebound, and the Bearded Dragons were up 2-1.
St George Randwick weren’t backing down, and a couple of penalty corners in a row had parents’ heart rates elevated, but another strike from Jack soon after had the Bearded Dragons 3-1 ahead, and they had earned some much needed breathing space.
A late goal to St George Randwick reflected the closeness of the match, but this was the Bearded Dragons’ day, and they progressed to the Grand Final winning 3-2 and also gained some useful experience about finals hockey.
Scorers: Rohan, Jack 2.