NO-ONE walked about with bragging rights from the last St Pat’s-Souths men’s Premier League Hockey derby but will that change this Saturday?
Both clubs like their chances of besting their local rivals after their enthralling round one 4-all draw.
Both clubs being even on the ladder, at 10 points a piece, just adds to the excitement level for the game at Bob Roach Field.
A win could potentially send the victorious team to the top of the ladder.
“There’s always plenty to play for in a local derby but the fact we’re equal does make it all the more exciting. There’s obviously a lot to play for being a short season,” Pat’s captain Darcy Davis said.
“We’re really happy with where we’re positioned at the moment. Obviously we’re aiming to be in that top four by the end of the season but then finals is a completely different competition.
“Top two would be ideal to have a home finals game.”
Winning this match would go a long way towards helping the Saints realise that goal.
Lithgow Panthers remain only two points clear of the Bathurst clubs.
Pat’s are striving for consistency is the second edition of the Bathurst derby.
The blue and white were 3-0 up before letting Souths back into the contest over the final 35 minutes.
Davis said the approach from Pat’s towards this game will be similar to the previous clash against Souths, but with an emphasis on strong second half hockey.
“We’ve made no significant changes at all. Just week by week we’ve been progressing in our strategies,” he said.
“We always start off fairly strong in our games but then fitness comes into it towards the end of the game. Souths played really well there in our last game against them.
“Fatigue came into play a bit for us so that was something we worked on at training, building that fitness up.”
Pat’s come into match off a 2-0 win over Lithgow Zig Zag.
Meanwhile Souths are buzzing after a convincing 8-1 win over the Orange Wanderers.
The two blues’ odds of walking away with a score like that against Pat’s are close to zero but coach Ray Winwood-Smith said a similar level of hockey will take his squad far.
“It’s still only early in the competition but this game is vital in trying to create separation between the teams. It’s very bunched at the moment,” he said.
“Being a local derby there’s a lot of interest in it.
“We’ve developed a fair bit over the last couple of weeks in the playing style that we’re taking on. The results are showing that we’re starting to understand what we’re trying to achieve.
“There’s a high degree of confidence due to the way we’ve been playing but against Pat’s you never take anything for granted.”
It’s still only early in the competition but this game is vital in trying to create separation between the teams.Ray Winwood-Smith
Winwood-Smith and Souths used the general bye as a chance to take some time away from the field.
The coach said that can either work for or against a team depending on their mental approach to the game.
“We’ve kept a very low profile but then ramped it back up this week,” he said.
“Having a week off is good and bad. What is has done is made the guys even more keen to get out there and keep the momentum going.”
Match stars 3.20pm.