THEY knew it would come, and on Saturday it arrived.
The Orange Wanderers recorded their first win of the 2012 men’s Premier League Hockey season, with a Nick Sharp double helping the home side down Bathurst Souths 4-2 in a close encounter at the Orange Hockey Centre.
After being 1-all at half-time then locked at 2-all with 15 minutes to go, Sharp sprung to life to score his second before Darryn Marjoram sealed the win with a crucial strike with just five minutes to go.
Wanderers coach Andrew Reddan was over the moon with the win, just a week after going down 3-2 to Lithgow Panthers in one of the best men’s PLH matches seen in Orange.
“We set ourselves a benchmark last weekend and we weren’t up to it in the first half, but the boys lifted in the second half and we ran away with it,” Reddan said.
“Again, though, we had umpteen opportunities in front of goal, it’s just a confidence thing. Some of the strikers were saying they were getting into the circle and not knowing which way to go. But we got one in the net and we went from there.
“The confidence has been there it was just about getting the win. Souths are no slouches. They put up a good fight.”
The match was evenly poised in the first period, with Souths’ opening goal to Andrew Cranston in the 11th minute countered by Sharp’s first winner four minutes later.
Wanderers briefly hit the lead when a reverse strike from Keegan Brooke found the back of the net just after half-time but it too was negated when Chris Hanrahan scored Souths’ second goal of the afternoon.
But, as they’ve promised over the opening month of the competition, Wanderers found their groove and, scoring two unanswered goals in the final 15 minutes to seal the win.
Reddan said it was a much more patient Wanderers side that claimed the four points on Saturday.
“That’s it. That’s what myself and Poss (Dave Watson) have worked on with the team this year,” Reddan said.
“In the past they’d pass it once and then belt it up the other end of the field. This year we wait for an opportunity and it does come, we just have to take advantage of it.”
Souths mentor Chris Stafford said although his side controlled the pace of the game, unavailability cruelled them.
“But to be honest I think we played quite well,” Stafford said.
“I think if we had a full side, I can’t see why we wouldn’t win, but you never know I guess.”
ORANGE WANDERERS 4 (Nick Sharp 2, Keegan Brooke, Darryn Marjoram) def BATHURST SOUTHS 2 (Andrew Cranston, Chris Hanrahan).