WHEN Orange Ex-Services coach Mitch Kennewell says goalkeeper Erin Horan will make a significant difference to his side’s chance of knocking off Bathurst St Pat’s in Saturday’s women’s Premier League Hockey clash in Orange, there’s little doubt he’s hit the nail on the head.
St Pat’s and Ex-Services fought out a 4-all draw in their only other game this season back in round two.
And, impressively, Ex-Services recorded that drawn result without a goalkeeper.
With Horan now marking goal, the blue and golds are hoping to cause a few headaches for a side that’s well on the way to booking a place in this year’s finals series.
“We’ve got more to fight for this round because if St Pat’s win, they’re in the finals,” Horan said, with Ex-Services a mathematically impossible proposition of making the top five.
“We’re not in the finals, so why can they be in the finals and not us?”
The 22-year-old is enjoying her first year with Ex-Services after a three-year hiatus from women’s PLH.
A former stopper with the Canobolas City Cougars, Horan says she’s slowly warming back into her first year in the top grade.
And, if she hadn’t made it clear already, both Horan and the Servies girls have St Pat’s firmly in their sights.
“They’re a top side. But we’re going to give it to them and see what happens,” Horan said, adding despite a mixed season for the Servies girls, their 2014 campaign has been an enjoyable one.
“It’s been good. They’re a great bunch of girls.
“They’re very experienced.”
Echoing the sentiment of his goalie, Kennewell said taking it to some of St Pat’s key players should ensure the blue and golds remain in the contest against one of the women’s PLH big guns.
“A lot has changed since we played St Pat’s last ... that was at the start of the season, we didn’t have a goalkeeper then,” Kennewell said.
“If we can force them into a few errors and play the sort of game we did against Kinross-CYMS and spread the ball to open space, then we’ll be at them.”
In other women’s PLH clashes on Saturday, the Dubbo Blue Jays host Bathurst City, Bathurst Souths make the trip to Orange to play Kinross-CYMS, Feds battle Zig Zag in Lithgow and Lithgow Panthers face the United ladies in Parkes. Ex-Services play St Pat’s from 1.10pm in Orange, followed by Kinross-CYMS and Souths at 2.35pm.