CYMS’ women’s Premier League Hockey title tilt may have come to an end in heart-breaking fashion last weekend but even so, the green and golds’ coach Pete Shea couldn’t hide his pride considering the outfit’s stunning effort in 2018.
The green and golds were handed a 3-2 defeat by Bathurst St Pat’s in Saturday’s preliminary final at Bob Roach Field, an Amy Glenn strike the killer blow in the second period of extra-time.
Naturally Shea was disappointed with the result, but considering 2018 was the club’s first stand-alone season in the competition in more than a decade the magnitude of CYMS’ achievement offered plenty of solace.
“To go down to the death in the preliminary final – that’s an amazing achievement. That’s an extraordinary reflection of the players and the effort they have put in during the year,” Shea said.
“We are playing against a St Pat’s team that has been together for many, many years. We’ve thrown people together to form a team and to see the progress this year, it’s just been amazing to see.”
CYMS came from behind twice to force the game into extra-time with Madie Smith bagging a brace to do so, the second of which came with just two seconds left in regulation time.
The green and golds had upset Bathurst City in extra-time in the minor semi-final a week earlier and looked likely to do the same to the Saints, they won two penalty corners in the first period of overtime.
But it wasn’t to be, they were denied before a weaving Kristy Ekert run gave Glenn her chance and she took it with a diving effort, securing St Pat’s first grand final appearance in five years.
“It was a matter of inches,” coach Pete Shea said.
“We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities to score, I guess our execution on short corners let us down a bit.”
Although stoked, St Pat’s coach Jaden Ekert was a relieved man after full-time as well. His side had controlled the clash in the opening 35 minutes before CYMS roared back in the second half.
He admitted he was more than a little bit worried his Saints might fall just short again.
“We lost our way a little bit in the second half there in terms of just holding the ball and playing with structure, we just drifted a little bit,” Ekert said.
“The corner [CYMS] scored off just before full-time – I couldn’t watch. We played so well for 60 minutes and to have that happen, it’s gut wrenching. But we still had to go out there and refocus, it was ridiculous.
“When full-time sounded I looked to Jim and said ‘not again’. It just reeked of not last year, but the year before.
“But heartbreak for those CYMS girls, they played really well. They played a different structure, they fell away in the second half and it worked for them.”
After a nervous start the week before in their major semi-final loss to Lithgow Panthers, this time the Saints were switched on from the opening whistle.
They drew six penalty corners in a dominant first half – Kristy Ekert scoring off the second of those.
CYMS were lucky not to be further behind, but they scrambled well inside the circle. Kayla Russell came up with a particularly impressive block to turn away a Mish Somers bullet.
Down the other end, St Pat’s goalkeeper Lilli-Rai Campbell didn’t even touch the ball.
But the second half was a different story as CYMS showed fight.
They put the pressure back on the Saints and passes that found the stick in the first stanza started going astray for the hosts.
In the 46th minute Smith scored off a penalty corner, pouncing on the rebound after Russell’s initial strike was blocked.
Sarah Watterson put St Pat’s back in the lead with a brilliant solo effort with 19 to go and was unlucky not to have another inside the final six minutes when hitting the post.
But CYMS kept coming and Smith’s late effort forced extra-time.
The green and golds certainly looked the more dangerous in the opening period, but the Saints held on. It took Glenn to finally kill off their challenge.
“I said to Jim [Muldoon], my assistant coach, that if Kristy gets the ball in the next 30 seconds, something is going to happen. And it did. The rest is history I guess,” Ekert said of the decisive moments.
- BATHURST ST PAT’S 3 (Sarah Watterson, Kristy Ekert, Amy Glenn) def ORANGE CYMS 2 (Madie Smith 2)
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