Bathurst City make a winning start to their title defence

BATHURST City made a winning start to their women’s Premier League Hockey title defence on Saturday, downing hosts Ex-Services 3-0 in Orange.

It has been a long wait for City to return to the turf since they beat Lithgow Panthers 5-2 in last year’s decider – more than eight months – but the Bathurst outfit still produced some slick passages of hockey in their opener.

NICE ONE: Bathurst City players celebrate following a goal against Orange Ex-Services on Saturday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

NICE ONE: Bathurst City players celebrate following a goal against Orange Ex-Services on Saturday. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

All three goals came in the first half and while not adding to the tally after the break, knocked the ball around nicely in the second stanza.

Lisa Quinn, who has handed over the coaching duties to Nick Klower this season, was happy with how City began their latest campaign.

“We played well in the first half. There was a lot of passing, a lot of talking, a lot of movement, the new girls who came into Premier League for the first time really stepped up,” she said.

“Being the first game I think fitness played a little bit of a role with what happened in the second half.

“But the field still opened up a little bit, we moved the ball around. We actually said at half-time that because we were 3-0, we really wanted to work on practising those transfers.

“We went out there and we did that, but we just didn’t have that intensity that we had in the first half.”

From the team which won last year’s grand final, both Tirah Jarvis and Bec Bosianek are sidelined due to injury while Jess Hotham and Hannah Evans are out.

However, Bridget Ellis has come into the squad this season while Jess Gardner has returned to City’s Premier League ranks.

It was Gardner who scored the opener after linking with Kelsey Willott, while the second came from a penalty corner play, Brooke McFadden putting away the rebound after Quinn’s initial strike was blocked.

Skipper Kelly Baker scored the third after a nice exchange of passing down the right side between Quinn and Gardner.

As for Exies, Quinn said they “looked dangerous” when countering.

“They nearly had a couple of runaways and they were quite strong on the ball, it was a very physical game,” she said.