BATHURST’S Jess Watterson has capped off what was already a memorable debut Australian Hockey League campaign in fantastic fashion.
The striker scored for the NSW Arrows in their AHL bronze medal match win against New Zealand Development on Sunday.
Watterson, plus fellow Bathurst representative Tamsin Bunt, celebrated a 3-1 victory over the New Zealand squad.
While the Arrows narrowly missed out on a grand final spot they still scored a valuable consolation prize – a third successive AHL bronze medal.
Arrows went into the match as favourites after beating the New Zealand Development side 4-1 in the last pool match only two days earlier.
However, in the pressure of a medal match it was bound to be a completely different atmosphere.
Sunday’s bronze medal game started in back-and-forth fashion, with both sides picking up early circle penetrations.
The Kiwis struck the first blow when Louisa Tuilotolava scored seven minutes into the game.
Arrows were responsible for three of the remaining four shots in the opening quarter, and the last of those from Emily Smith was an equaliser.
NSW took their momentum into the new quarter of hockey as they peppered the New Zealand circle with repeated attacks.
The pressure reaped its rewards when Watterson put the Arrows ahead for the first time in the 18th minute.
With half-time approaching New Zealand spent a lot of time around the NSW circle but they couldn’t level the scores.
Arrows enjoyed a 67 per cent slice of possession in the third quarter.
New Zealand were more productive with their time on the ball as they won the penalty corner count 4-0 for the quarter.
NSW goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram and NSW were up for the challenge every time as they crucially kept the Arrows’ advantage going into the final term.
New Zealand were on top possession-wise across the fourth quarter.
They picked up seven circle penetrations but couldn’t find a way through Bunt and the NSW defensive unit.
Smith then sealed the deal with her second goal of the day with just two minutes to spare.
The Kiwis went down with a 7-1 penalty corner count in their favour.
Watterson’s goal brought her tally up to four for the tournament.
The Arrows debutant picked up a goal against India and a brace against Victoria during the first pool stage.