World Junior Cup hopeful keeps Thistles as team to beat
HAPPY to be back playing in Ipswich, Emily Witheyman-Crump has added motivation to display her impressive skills this season.
The former Australian Schoolgirls representative is hoping to qualify for next year's Junior World Cup in South Africa.
Having been added to the QAS squad after training with the Brisbane Blaze national league team last season, the busy goalkeeper has plenty to keep her focused.
"At the moment, everything's been cancelled but potential Australian under-21 camps are coming up,'' she said.
"I'm looking for selection for Junior World Cup which is going to be end of next year.''
The former Ipswich Girls' Grammar School student still plays for Commercial in the Brisbane competition.
However, she planned to line up as much as she can with the well-drilled Thistles side that ended a two-game draw deadlock to beat Easts 4-0 in their latest game.
While speedster Talicia Canty was hammering in another hat-trick at one end, Witheyman-Crump used her height and agility to advantage to deny the Tigers any joy.
"It was really good to be back in Ipswich and playing again,'' she said, enjoying her first stint with the unbeaten Thistles combination.
Before the latest win, Thistles had draws against regular grand finalists Wests and Hancocks.
"The big focus here was to just get goals in the back of the net and keep them out,'' Witheyman-Crump said. "So we can keep pushing for that finals run.''
Under the guidance of coach Jay Pavitt, A-Grade newcomers Thistles looked sharp and positive in attack.
Canty scored Thistles' second, third and fourth goals on Sunday night after Jesse Staples put her team 1-0 up.
Having last played for Wests in the 2017 Ipswich competition, Witheyman-Crump was lured to Thistles knowing Pavitt through the Commercial club and having links to some of the players.
"I've just mainly been playing in Brisbane and then this year their (Thistles) goalie pulled out,'' she said. "So I thought I'd come back.''
Aged 20, she is studying a Bachelor of Business (majoring in Sports Management) part-time and working full-time for a refrigerated transport company based in Ipswich.
"Hopefully I'll be able to stay out the whole season,'' she said.
"I've played with pretty much everyone in the team before so it's really good.''
She also welcomed the chance to play in a team coached by Pavitt.
"He's very laidback but to the point. He gives you a really good warm-up as well,'' the rising Queensland goalkeeper said.
Witheyman-Crump represented the Australian Schoolgirls side on the three-week tour to Europe in 2017, the previous time she played in the Ipswich competition.
Looking fit and focused, Witheyman-Crump said Thistles provided a new environment to strengthen her playing time.
"It's really good mixing in with the older girls I've played with,'' she said. "But there is also a few younger girls I haven't played with in a while so it's really good to be able to part of their development coming through Ipswich hockey,'' she said.
She was also in the Queensland under-21 representative that finished third at the 2017 national title in Wollongong after returning from Europe with the Australian Schoolgirls.
In the other A-Grade women's match, Hancocks scored a confidence-boosting 4-0 win over Wests.
A minutes silence was observed before the game after the passing of former Ipswich Musketeers baseball club president and life member John "Chipsy'' Howells late last week.
Chipsy's wife Janette is a Hancocks life member and long-serving Ipswich Hockey Association official.
Women's and girls July 24-26
A Grade: Hancock Brothers 4 (Sara Rogers, Lily Evans, R Clark, Genevive Ferguson) d Wests 0; Thistles 4 (Talicia Canty 3, Jesse Staples) d Easts 0.
Reserve Grade: Thistles 0 drew Easts 0; Northern Strikers 4 (S Parlett 2, S Ashton, B Forde) d Hancock Brothers 0; Wests 2 (P Duncalfe, E Picton) d Swifts 1 (A Geeves).
R2 Grade: Vets 5 (M Morgan, K Pudwell, D Dannock, K Black, A Burt) d Bellbowrie Green 1; Swifts 4 (T Floyd, A Mirallez, L Shaw, A Geeves) d Bellbowrie Gold 1 (S Ashton).
A2 Grade: Hancock Brothers 1 (R McKinnon) drew Swifts 1 (A Meloury); Veterans 0 drew Norths 0; Bellbowrie 2 (D Ashton-Norton, D Greenalsh) d Thistles 0.
C Grade: Norths 2 (C Hinze, C McDowell) d Hancock Brothers 0; Thistles 3 (J Butler 2, J Klerks) d Bellbowrie 2 (G Richardson 2).
D Grade: Easts 4 (C Memory, C Murphy, B Smith, S Savage) d Hancock Brothers 1 (K Dobinson); North Western Strikers 1 (M Doyle) d Swifts 0.
E Grade: Western Strikers 1 (C Rich) d Swifts 0; Norths 6 (H Johnston 4, B Profke, I Jeffreys) d Thistles 0.