Norths looking to cause some finals surprises
HOCKEY: Working together as a senior group, the Norths women have received a double boost for the fast-approaching Ipswich finals.
The club's A-Grade side survived a challenge from their Toowoomba counterparts to score a late goal to secure victory in their final Combined Competition match.
The 3-2 win at Raceview on Sunday afternoon provided a timely lift for the fourth-placed team chasing defending premiers Wests, second-placed Hancock Brothers and Swifts.
"It gives them a bit of confidence coming away with a few wins,'' coach Jamie Burns said, also pleased with other recent victories over Toowoomba sides Rangeville and Newtown.
"I was pretty happy with the way the girls are changing their way of thinking and looking at how to play the game.''
Norths' A-Grade victory after a tight battle came on the same weekend the club's Reserve Grade side also showed improvement in beating Hancocks 2-0 at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
Experienced coach Burns said having his squad train with the Robert Lewis-coached Reserve Grade combination this season was helping the club.
"It's good for the morale too,'' Burns said. "Everyone's getting along well and benefiting from both teams training together.''
The Norths A Grade win was particularly satisfying given the Devils trailed 1-0.
Sophie Fynes-Clinton scored the match-winner showing the Devils are capable of finishing strongly.
"They are definitely starting to play for 70 minutes now,'' Burns said, keen to see more of that effort with the finals approaching.
"The girls can play hockey. It's just a matter of being able to stay in it consistently.''
Players like fullback Kirsten Ihle have been reliable, along with striker Crystal Brown.
"Everyone across our team are starting to step up now,'' Burns said.
The Norths Ipswich men also had a 4-3 win over Norths Toowoomba in their final round of Combined Competition matches with Toowoomba teams.
That Sunday afternoon win came after Easts outclassed Toowoomba Past High 8-1 earlier in the day at Raceview.
Tim Woodford scored a hat-trick for the Tigers.
In other men's A Grade games, Wests drew with Rangeville 1-1 and Red Lion beat defending Ipswich premiers Hancocks 8-2 in Toowoomba.
Hancocks will tackle Toowoomba Red Lion in the annual Combined Competition men's final at 2.40pm in Toowoomba on Sunday afternoon.
Wests play Toowoomba Newtown in the women's final at the same venue at 1.15pm.
A-Grade men: Easts d Past High 8-1, Norths Ipswich d Norths Toowoomba 4-3, Wests drew Rangeville 1-1; Red Lion d Hancock Brothers 8-3.
A-Grade women: Past High d Swifts 2-1, Wests d Rangeville 2-0; Norths Ipswich d Norths Toowoomba 3-2, Hancock Brothers d Red Lion 5-0.