Orange CYMS kicked off the 2019 women's Premier League Hockey season with a nervy victory in Saturday afternoon's season opening local derby, but it was one they had to work hard for against a gallant Ex-Services outfit.
It was a Sarah Jackson field goal in the second quarter of the clash that ultimately proved the difference, the green and golds holding onto that 1-nil lead for the remainder of the clash to claim a first-up victory.
With their new-look group of players and coaches, and a revamped style of play, Ex-Services' performance was more than encouraging, doing enough to suggest they're in great stead to improve markedly on last year's tough campaign.
That's something both CYMS coach Pete Shea and Ex-Services assistant coach Daryl Kennewell highlighted after the game too.
"Ex-Services played really well, I was actually a little bit surprised by their style of play, which I think is a lot better than [in recent years], it was a really competitive game actually," Shea said.
"It was a really good game," Kennewell agreed, going to say he thinks his side now has a good foundation to build off as they look to, hopefully, return to the competition's finals frame.
"CYMS scored their goal through (our) lack of discipline and we didn't really think the result reflected our performance, but we've laid a solid platform for what looks a competitive year," he said.
Shea did admit his side "never reached any great heights" though, but went on to explain after losing a few stars from last year's third finish he wasn't expecting a perfect performance first-up.
And, of course, he was pleased to get the result.
"We've got a few kids coming in, particularly up front, and our attacking play was a little bit disjointed because of that but we still did enough to win some short corners and were lucky enough to score one breakaway goal, and getting the result is good obviously," he said.
"Hopefully we've done enough to be able to speak about our patterns and structures during the week because there is a lot we can improve on, and will need to before our next game which is against Bathurst City, so hopefully we progress quite quickly."
Confederates, Orange's third top-flight side, actually played their round one clash against Bathurst St Pat's a fortnight ago.
The two sides have developed quite the rivalry after back-and-forth affairs in the last couple of seasons and their clash once again proved a fierce contest, with the Saints eventually running out 2-1 winners at Orange Hockey Centre.
Sarah Watterson and Paityn Simpson scored their goals, while Eva Reith-Snare slotted one for the hosts.
- ORANGE CYMS 1 (Sarah Jackson) def ORANGE EX-SERVICES 0
- BATHURST ST PAT'S 2 (Sarah Watterson, Paityn Simpson) def CONFEDERATES 1 (Eva Reith-Snare)