A PENALTY stroke was all that separated Bathurst City from Kinross-CYMS in Saturday's women's Premier League Hockey season opener at Bob Roach Field, but the 1-0 result was one the hosts were happy to take.
With a younger-looking line-up to start their new campaign, perennial finalists City knew that getting points early in the season could be a tricky assignment as players come to grips with the higher standard and tempo of the Premier League competition.
Therefore Andrea Seymour's first half penalty stroke was enough to have City co-coach Jillian Long smiling.
“It was patchy in places but I thought they did very well,” she said. “They're a young side and we haven't been on the water [turf] so far this year, so we did find the ball bounces a little bit and we were having trouble getting traps.
“But overall the young girls stuck there and we got the four points, so that is all you care about. You have got to be happy with that and we’ll only get better and better."
After at one stage looking like they would not have enough players to take part in the first match of their new campaign, Kinross showed enough over the course of the 70 minutes to make coach Peter Shea think good things can follow.
In fact, he felt with a little bit of luck his side could actually have come away from Bathurst with the points.
“We probably could've won, should've won that game,” he said. “ We had a couple hit the post, there were a couple of good saves and a close short corner variation, half a stick length in it.
“We played well enough and we controlled the ball for a majority of that second half which was good.”
The critical moment of the match came after just five minutes as City capitalised on starting the stronger of the two sides. A shot blasted in from the left of goal hit defender Nicole Royle on the line, resulting in a penalty stroke.
Seymour took the chance to give her side a 1-0 lead and ultimately that was where the score remained.
There was still plenty of chances at both ends, City earning seven penalty corners for the match while the Bathurst outfit had some sharp saves from Madison Tattersall to thank for their clean sheet.
In the first half the young goalkeeper made a good one-on-one block to deny Clair Goodall while after the break she made an excellent glove save off a Chloe Barrett tomahawk.
Another Barrett effort struck the post while in the opening stages of the second half Madie Smith slipped past Tattersall only to have her shot blocked by Sarah McCusker’s stick.
“There were times I thought we were a bit lucky,” Long admitted. “Kinross may have been struggling for numbers but the numbers they have got are good. They've always been close to that top five and they played like that again today. I’d have to say my players' player was young Maddi Tatt and Sarah McCusker helped her well as fullback.”
BATHURST CITY 1 (Andrea Seymour) def KINROSS-CYMS 0.