The John Davis Motors Superleague champions were crowned following Sunday’s third and final round of the 2017 tournament, the JDM Jokers sealing a cruisy win in the women’s league and the Mazda Maulers claiming a hard-fought men’s title.
The Jokers, led by Kate Pulbrook, headed into Sunday’s final round on top of the standings and were never seriously threatened on their way to the inaugural women’s championship.
Superleague supremo Scott Baker heaped praise on the dominant Jokers side, congratulating them before pointing to one of the final day’s games as a real highlight.
“The Jokers played some great hockey and thoroughly deserved the win,” Baker said.
“There was some really great sportsmanship showed by Ellen Warner and Claire Goodall though, the Mazda Maulers and Suzuki Strikers skippers.
“They played out a draw but weren’t too concerned about getting the win, so during the shoot-out they both used players who would be unlikely to ever contest one normally. The premier players in the sides stood aside, which I think was a great touch.”
The men’s competition was far tighter, boiling down to the final clash of the tournament.
Sunday’s last game between the Maulers and Jokers had been billed as a potential decider and that’s exactly what it ended up being, it proved a fierce contest too.
An early goal for Mick Corby gave the Adam Hurford-led Maulers a 1-0 lead, which his side eventually extended to two.
Jokers skipper Nic Milne, nursing a niggly injury, had opted not to play the final day with NSW Country duty looming, but couldn’t help himself and entered the fray in a last-ditch attempt to get his side over the line.
It was to no avail though, the Maulers winning 2-0.
“It’s the third year in a row we’ve had a different team win the men’s division, to me, that really proves the make-up of the teams and the way this tournament works provides a really level and at times unpredictable contest,” Baker said.
“For example, my pre-tournament favourites were Daryl Kennewell’s Renault Royals, the inaugural champions.
“They didn’t even get a look in. Even so, Daryl was able to provide some really great support and guidance for his younger players to help them step up to this level, and develop.”
Given the Jokers’ women’s win and second finish in the men’s league, they were crowned as overall champions.
“Once again it’s been a raging success,” Baker said.
“A big thank you to everyone who helped over the three rounds, there’s way too many to name. Without those volunteers this can’t happen, so thank you. A big thank you to the players too, who really embrace what this competition is designed for.
“The sponsors deserve a big rap too. Ben and the team at John Davis Motors, Mel and Dave from DVM Embroidery, Richard and the guys at Bridgestone Ironman and Rhonda and her team at Sportspower.
“We can’t wait for next year, the players are keen to go again and we’ll hopefully see it get bigger and better again. Look out 2018.”