Tough championships run awaiting Bathurst at Narellan

TEST: Kristy Ekert will be one of the experienced heads Bathurst will turn to for their State Championships campaign. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK
TEST: Kristy Ekert will be one of the experienced heads Bathurst will turn to for their State Championships campaign. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

BATHURST’S under strength squad are ready to test themselves in this long weekend’s Hockey NSW Open Women’s Field State Championships at Narellan.

While several experienced players will be lining up in the lime green, this year’s Bathurst team will feature a host of junior members thrust into a challenging division one tournament.

Bathurst coach Jye Bunt believes his side will be a part of the tougher division one pool, which features Metro South West 1, Sydney East, Nepean 1 and Central West rivals Lithgow.

Lithgow go into the tournament as defending champions.

Bunt is looking forward to the matchup with Lithgow, which rounds out Bathurst’s pool matches on Sunday.

“They’ve got a few strong strikers who do well in the Sydney competition. As long as we don’t let them into the circle we can do well,” he said.

“They know how to score goals. One of the main reasons they won last year was that they’ve got goalscorers. In women’s hockey if you’ve got goalscorers then you’re going to win.”

Bathurst will have knowledge about Lithgow’s players from their matches in Premier League Hockey but knowing what other teams will be like is a trickier task.

Until it becomes clear what players other associations will bring to Narellan then it’s difficult for Bunt to make an estimate of where Bathurst sit in the pecking order.

“Nepean, well it depends on who they bring. If you’ve got someone like Bel Brooks there then they’re a completely different team,” he said.

“Metro South West are always strong and they always play together in the Sydney comp in Moorebank and areas around that.

“Sydney East were struggling for numbers a bit this year but they’ll have a few strong girls and maybe a few AHL players.”

It’s a tough path to a semi-final but Bunt hopes that was add resilience to his squad.

“If we get a few wins there and make it to the semis then you know you’re ready,” he said.

“It will be difficult because there weren’t too many girls who were available this weekend. We had to scrounge around a bit for a few outsiders to play, but they’re quality players themselves.

“There’s a couple of players who have played AHL with the ACT and they tend to fit in pretty well. I coached them before at AHL level.

“Bathurst players are very accommodating as well so it makes it easy for anyone to walk into this team.

“We’ll still have a relatively strong team. We should be alright as long as we stick to our game plan.”

Bathurst start their Field State Championships campaign from 8am against Sydney East.