SAVANNAH Draper was nervous before taking to the field against her former club for the first time on Saturday, but by the time the final whistle sounded she was a smiling Saint.
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Draper's efforts in defence were part of a performance which helped St Pat's to a 3-1 win over Parkes in their Central West Premier League Hockey clash at Bob Roach Field.
Though playing higher than usual in defence, Draper tackled strongly and released her team-mates on counter-attacking plays with smart passes. Even when copping a ball to the foot she opted to 'dance the pain away' rather than be subbed off.
It was something Saints coach Bec Clayton was impressed by.
"I think Sav had a pretty good game, she wasn't playing her usual deep fullback role so I think at first she felt out of place a little bit, but then she settled into her defensive spot well," Clayton said.
"This is the first time she has played against Parkes so she was obviously a little bit nervous but she did really well today. It was probably her best game for us so far, which is nice because she probably had something to prove there."
While Draper and the rest of the Saints had plenty of work to do in defence in the second half, in the opening quarter on Saturday it was all about attack for the blue and whites.
They had two penalty corner plays inside the opening five minutes - twice hitting the frame work from the second of them - while Paige Hay very nearly scored off a deflection, Parkes goalkeeper Amy Thornberry making a good save to deny her.
But soon after the opener came. Lily Kable won the ball in the midfield, carried it into the circle and while Thornberry saved her attempt, Mille Fulton fired in another which hit the target.
Millie Fulton then turned creator as she made an attacking run down down the left edge. Her shot beat Thornberry and rolled across the face of goal to her sister Macey Fulton who had followed through. She had an easy tap in.
That made it 2-0 at quarter-time and the second period was only 90 seconds old when the Saints struck again.
A quick counter-attack from Hay was the catalyst and Kable the player to convert.
With the Saints well on top it looked as if a big win could be on the cards, but the young Parkes outfit lifted.
When they drew a penalty corner seven minutes out from half-time which Chloe Carty converted to make it 3-1, Parkes' confidence grew further.
Early in the second half Parkes had three consecutive penalty corner plays and soon after it was only some brilliant work from experienced Saints defender Lucy Weal and goalkeeper Lilli-Rae Campbell that denied Sarah Hartin.
Hartin's pace in attack saw her as a constant threat, but Draper worked hard to cover her and Campbell was terrific in stopping any shots which Parkes fired her way.
Pat's had chances too - the best of them when a long ball from Kable picked out Millie Fulton - but Thornberry came up with the blocks when called upon.
"The first half was okay ... but we were just so sloppy in the second half," Clayton said.
"I think Parkes played better in that second half as well, which meant we didn't find it as easy to get through the middle.
"They are a young team, super young, if they can stick together they'll absolutely be a force.
"I thought when we were up by three that we were going to pull away there, but Parkes turned it on and we dropped off a bit as well. We certainly have to work on that, maintaining our intensity."
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