A late winner from South’s Oliver MacIntyre and a double from North’s Deanna Ritchie gave their sides victory in the final matches of the Sentinel Homes North v South series in Hamilton tonight.
On a wet evening at St Paul’s Collegiate, the men’s match was all tied up at 2-2 until the 58th minute when MacIntyre rocketed in the winner from a penalty corner to give the South a 3-2 victory and with it the series.
The women’s match came alive in the second half with two goals to Ritchie and two more in the last five minutes to give the North a flattering 4-0 win and the North v South title.
It looked like the low-scoring women’s series would continue in tonight’s decider with the teams going into the half-time break scoreless despite the rain clearing for the second match of the evening.
North striker Ritchie broke the deadlock seven minutes after the break. With a near-perfect reverse cross, Ella Hyatt-Brown found Ritchie unmarked in front of the keeper to deflect in an easy goal.
Lulu Tuilotolava nearly made it two for the North just before the three quarter mark with a cracking reverse shot from the top of the circle that went wide.
But it wasn’t long into the final quarter before the North did extend their lead to two with Ritchie collecting her second with a well-worked penalty corner. Katie Doar found Ritchie on the right post, with Ritchie again simply deflecting the ball in to put the North ahead 2-0.
Rose Tynan put the result beyond doubt with the goal of the series, taking the ball into the circle and on to her reverse side before firing it into the top of the goal – albeit a goal without a keeper as the South upped their attack.
And right on the final whistle Alia Jaques cleaned up a scramble in the circle following a penalty corner strike to give the North their 4-0 victory.
Victorious North captain Stacey Michelsen praised the efforts of her young strikers in tonight’s win.
“Our younger girls up front really pulled us through. No one has played a lot of hockey this year but the way they stepped up tonight was hugely impressive.”
Women: North 4 (Deanna Ritchie 37 min and 46 min, Rose Tynan 55 min, Alia Jaques 60 min) South 0.
Game 1: South 2 North 0. Game 2: North 1 South 0. Series winner: North.
In the earlier men’s game which was also a series decider, Dylan Thomas opened the scoring for the North with a lovely reverse shot following a poor clearance from the South defenders.
The South replied shortly after the quarter break while the North were reduced to 10 players in the weirdest of circumstances. North skipper Nic Woods was benched for five minutes for his side having 12 players on the field.
During Wood’s absence, his opposite Blair Tarrant played a beautiful ball into the circle which Jacob Smith got the lightest of touches on to make it 1-1. This remained the score at the break thanks to some fine goalkeeping from the North’s Dom Dixon who saved two strikes from a penalty corner.
Woods continued his drag flicking success early in the third quarter with another penalty corner goal to put the North back in front 2-1.
The South drew level at 2-2 in the final quarter with probably the best goal of the match. Matt Symonds surged from midfield to knock in a rebound goal after some great work from Dominic Newman in the circle.
Minutes later the Southerners secured the winner using a different option at penalty corner time that baffled the North defence, with MacIntyre firing the ball into the bottom right corner.
Men: South 3 (Jacob Smith 18 min, Matt Symonds 52 min, Oliver MacIntryre 58 min) North 2 (Dylan Thomas 10 min, Nic Woods 35 min).
Game 1: North 5 South 4. Game 2: South 3 North 0. Series winner: South.