ORANGE Ex-Services will treat today’s women’s Premier League Hockey qualifying semi-final like a grand final.
Ex-Services will travel to Bathurst to take on St Pat’s, with the winner moving into next week’s major semi-final against minor premiers Lithgow Panthers.
The Orange side will still play next week if they lose, but coach Mitch Kennewell said that’s not how they’re treating today’s match.
“They realise that but we’re trying to get the mentality that this is the grand final and losing is not an option,” Kennewell said.
“We want to play like we don’t have a second chance. We’re going to put it all on the line.”
Ex-Services and St Pat’s have met twice this season, with mixed results.
In round six in Orange, St Pat’s came out on top 3-1.
The two sides last met in July in Bathurst, where they played out a nil-all draw.
“It will be pretty tight. It should be a good little tussle,” Kennewell said.
“I reckon they (Ex-Services) can do it. I think St Pat’s might get a shock.”
A bonus for Ex-Services is they will field a full strength side, something they haven’t been able to do in recent weeks.
They will welcome back Sam Hopwood, who missed the last two games while she was helping NSW to the Australian Country Women’s Championship.
Ebony Press has also missed the past fortnight with a back injury and will start today’s game on the bench.
Kennewell said possession will be key for his team’s prospects.
“I think they’re up for the challenge,” he said.
“It should be a good game. St Pat’s are a good side.”
Today’s qualifying semi-final in Bathurst will start at 3.20pm.
The elimination semi-final between Bathurst City and Bathurst Souths will start at 12.20pm.