ST Pat’s have created a three-way tie at the top of the women’s Premier League Hockey table thanks to their 4-1 win on Saturday over Bathurst City at Orange’s gala day.
Saints, City and CYMS all now sit on 24 points, two clear of Lithgow Panthers, which could lead to a thrilling battle for the minor premiership in the deciding rounds of the regular season.
Pat’s started Saturday’s match with plenty of ambition and their early circle penetrations didn’t go unrewarded.
Julie Hanman made a dangerous run along the baseline to help set up Sarah Watterson for the opening goal of the game.
Just minutes later the lead doubled when Kristy Ekert made the most of her one-on-one chance against the City goalkeeper.
Kelly Baker’s successful shot from a penalty corner helped City bridge the gap back to one before half-time.
Saints had lost some focus before the break but came into the second half looking refreshed and ready to strike.
Two quick fire goals from the Saints’ Ruby Clarke put the game out of City’s reach.
“We controlled it from the first minute of the game,” Pat’s coach Jaden Ekert said.
“There was probably a 10 minute period there before half-time where we turned over too much ball but we addressed that and stayed controlled for all 35 minutes of the second half.”
Ekert said his team have proven themselves a leading contender thanks to their performances over a tough run of matches.
“We knew we’d have a tough run with Panthers, City and CYMS all close together so we had a chat about what we needed to do,” he said.
“We knew they’d be hard, physical and quick games. The girls did what they needed to do to make sure that the game would be won, and they won well.”
City coach Nick Klower was proud of his under strength City team in defeat and said the Saints were simply more clinical up front.
“We had a lot of players out so we were very much a new look side, but everyone who played was fantastic. It just wasn’t our day,” he said.
“Everything the girls did they executed really well but Pat’s were just fantastic.
“I thought It’d be a challenge going into the game but with the way the team filled their roles and played the game you couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
City were in serious trouble when Pat’s found their two early goals.
From that position the match could have gone well out of control for City but the team worked hard to ensure they wouldn’t lose touch.
“I thought we’d be on the back foot when they scored that first goal against us but the girls were able to hit back straight away,” Klower said.
“We did have our opportunities in the circle, we just didn’t capitalise on them as much as Pat’s did.
“That’s where it got away from us. They had a structure where they were holding one player really high, we were holding back, they were using breakaways and outnumbering us in the circle.”