Women’s Premier League Hockey, meet Orange CYMS.
Playing their first game as a stand-alone club since 2007, the green and golds made their comeback count in a big way, springing a monumental upset on last year’s grand finalists and perennial title contenders Lithgow Panthers, at Lithgow.
CYMS did so in a big way too, a Kennedy Chapman double and a second-half blitz securing a 4-0 victory that catapults the returning side to the top of the table.
"They're a good side, they threw a lot at us. It was only 1-0 at half time, so it was close," CYMS coach Pete Shea said, giving Panthers plenty of credit.
"They started to drop off in the second half. It's early in the season, fitness and all that. It was pleasing that we didn't have a goal conceded against us."
Shea commended the work of former Hockeyroo Jade Georgiou along with Chapman and 16-year-old goalkeeper Kimberly Kiel in particular, the latter was making her Premier League debut, and said he was particularly pleased with his side’s defensive and mid-field efforts.
"Our ability to move the ball through the mid-field was extremely pleasing and our defence worked really well [on Saturday],” Shea said.
Panthers did make a strong start, securing a short corner in the first five minutes. However, sharpshooter Amelia Leard was unable to make the conversion.
The two sides traded circle penetrations and unsuccessful shots after that before, with just five minutes left in the half, CYMS’ Libby Smith found space before linking up with Dubbo’s Chapman, who slotted her first in green and gold and the side’s first goal of the season.
CYMS well and truly took control in the opening 15 minutes of the second period but didn’t see results, Panthers’ goalkeeper Jess Luchetti kept two penalty corners out.
Our ability to move the ball through the mid-field was extremely pleasing and our defence worked really well.CYMS coach Pete Shea
The unrelenting pressure eventually told though, as Chapman slotted her second and Madie Smith pushed the lead out to 3-0 just minutes after, converting from a rebounded shot from a short corner.
Panthers tried to claw back with several shots on goal and a handful of corners as well, but CYMS held in defence, before Deb Orrock tapped a shot in while Luchetti was reacting to a prior attack.
"It's disappointing because we've been training very well. It's just that the performance didn't happen on the day. But it's a long season," Panthers coach Dave Marshall said.
"Full credit to them, they deserved to win. They are going to be a hard side to beat.”