WHEN Ex-Services arrived at Bathurst’s Cooke Hockey Complex on Saturday with no goalkeeper and no substitutes, it looked as if they were going to be in for a long afternoon against women’s Premier League Hockey rivals Bathurst St Pat’s.
But looks can be deceiving.
Somehow a gutsy Ex-Services side, who at one stage played 12 minutes a player short after Jade Williams was injured, pulled off a 4-all draw.
After suffering a 6-0 loss to Lithgow Panthers in their season opener, Ex-Services shocked their rivals as they scored the first two goals of the contest.
While Pat’s fought back to take the lead six minutes into the second stanza, Ex-Services again managed to lift themselves to come away with a share of the points.
“I am happy with the result, but just the way they played today, that was the best thing,” Ex-Services coach Darryn Marjoram said.
“It was a risk we might have turned up and made excuses before we started, but we tested ourselves. To get the chance to play at this level with no goalie and no subs, the girls wanted to see what they could do.
“They would have been fairly exhausted at 4-3 down but they fought back and then they kept trying to score. We probably even had more possession in attack than they did towards the end of the game.”
The first surprise came after seven minutes when Haley Butcherine broke clear of the Saints’ defence and managed to get her shot past advancing St Pat’s goalkeeper Karen Fieldus.
When Butcherine doubled her tally in the 12th minute after Ali Baker forced a turnover, Ex-Services could feel something special might be brewing.
While Kristy Conroy finally managed to score from Pat’s second penalty corner and had a second goal before the break, Tiffany Atkinson kept Ex-Services ahead as she slipped in a shot on the post.
Forty seconds into the second half, as Conroy made it a hat-trick, the scores were locked at 3-all and for the first time, the Saints started to get on top.
They threw the ball around with more patience, earned three penalty corners in quick time, then had the lead with Amy Glenn found the mark.
Finally ahead 4-3, the Saints breathed a little sigh of relief, but if they thought they had killed off Ex-Services they were wrong.
The Orange side dug deep and managed to find an equaliser via Atkinson with just over 12 minutes left.
“It is a little frustrating. I think after they scored those two quick goals we were just shocked, we hit the panic stations and I don’t think we at all recovered from that,” St Pat’s coach Bec Clayton said.
“Even when we were up 4-3, I still don’t think we were playing our best. As soon as they put a bit of pressure on we caved and that is something we are going to have to work on.”
BATHURST ST PAT’S 4 (Kristy Conroy 3, Amy Glenn) drew with EX-SERVICES 4 (Haley Butcherine 2, Tiffany Atkinson 2).