BATHURST talents Jess Watterson and Tamsin Bunt made an excellent start to their Australian Hockey League campaign on Saturday as their NSW Arrows over last year’s runner-up Queensland Blades 5-3.
The AHL is taking on a new set of rules this year and the Arrows made the most of them to stay ahead from the fourth minute until the full-time whistle.
Watterson scored for the Arrows in their win, which puts them in a great position to finish top of their pool ahead of games with Tasmania and the ACT.
In this year’s competition every goal scorer has the chance to add another point to their team’s total by facing the opposing goalkeeper in a one-on-one.
On top of that, each team has a five minute period at the end of the second and fourth quarters where their goals will be worth double (conversions stay one point).
The ‘PumpPlay’ sees both teams drop to a nine-on-nine setup, the idea being to encourage even faster and intense hockey.
It definitely made for an interesting conclusion on Saturday.
In a nervous ending for NSW they were far from home despite being up 5-1 inside the last five minutes.
Queensland were entering their PumpPlay and a goal for Rebecca Greiner brought her team back within two points.
Luckily for NSW her conversion was unsuccessful.
Earlier in the game NSW’s Emily Smith scored a goal and conversion before Queensland hit back in the second quarter with a Jodie Kenny penalty stroke.
Watterson scored in the third quarter after getting on the end of a Georgie Morgan cross.
Grace Stewart added a converted goal to give NSW a four point buffer.
Greiner’s missed conversion attempt following her 55th minute kept NSW in the clear until the hour mark.
“The changes make the game a little more interesting for the crowd, I think, and it leads to some bigger scores,” Watterson said.
“They scored in their power play but missed the conversion so that was good for us. It could have gone from 5-1 to 5-4.
“This puts us in a good standing for our next couple of games, especially because Queensland were second last year. That’s got us in a good mindset.”
Watterson won’t line up in Sunday’s game against Tasmania but Bunt has retained her place.
Meanwhile Souths player Nic McEwen and his NSW Waratahs went down 6-4 to the Blades in the men’s competition.
Bunt’s sister Rebecca Lee and her Canberra Strikers team got off to a positive start thanks to their 3-0 win over the Tassie Van Demons.