Norths reveal steely resolve
IN A four-team competition, where you finish entering the finals is not essential.
But securing a top two spot is an advantage.
That’s the focus of the Norths men, who are starting to build momentum in the Ipswich and Toowoomba intercity A-grade hockey competitions.
Norths displayed a new sense of maturity by answering a challenge from Toowoomba opponents Rangeville on Sunday.
In winning 4-2, Norths impressed coach Jamie Burns after the Devils had beaten Hancock Brothers 2-1 before the Easter break.
“It was a good test for them,” Burns said after Rangeville levelled the scores at 2-2.
“In games of the past, they would have dropped their heads and let Rangeville walk over us.
“But in the second half, we came out and defended like champions.
“Yesterday, they showed they had a bit of heart for each other.”
Burns rated the weekend’s match – and the win over Hancocks – as his team’s most satisfying recent results.
Those wins have elevated Norths to 10 points, the same as Hancocks.
Runaway leaders Easts are on 24 points, still unbeaten having scored 50 goals and conceding just eight.
Easts beat Norths Toowoomba 5-1 in their latest game.
Burns was unconcerned by the Tigers setting such a hot pace.
“All three teams – Norths, Hancocks and Wests – are all pretty even,” he said.
“Easts are beatable. It’s just a matter of whether anyone wants to put in.
“But I don’t think they’ll be getting beaten until later on in the season.”
Norths suffered a setback on Sunday when striker Anthony Woodward broke his hand after being struck by a deflection.
However, Burns is confident the Devils have better depth this season.
In other weekend games, Past High (Toowoomba) downed Wests 5-4 and Newtown held out Hancocks 3-2.
In the women’s A-grade round, Easts gained a valuable point in drawing 1-1 with Norths Toowoomba. Hancock Brothers beat Newtown 4-2 and Rangeville (Toowoomba) outclassed Ipswich Norths 3-0.
State of play:
A Grade men:
Easts 5 (Tim Woodford 3, Daniel Mantell, Daniel Billingsley) def Norths Toowoomba 1; Past High 5 def Wests 4 (Greg Walker 2, Corey Jaenke 2); Newtown 3 def Hancocks 2 (Peter Mitchell, Trent Davison); Norths Ipswich 4 (Mark Pocock, Nick Maddocks, Will Dalais, Dean Jeffrey) def Rangeville 2.
Points: Easts 24 (50/8), Hancock Brothers 10 (18/12), Norths 10 (14/30), Wests 2 (12/27).
A Grade women:
Easts 1 (Christina Range) drew Norths Toowoomba 1; Hancock Brothers 4 (Elyse Smolenski 2, Sara Rogers, Aimee McDermott) d. Newtown 3; Rangeville 3 d. Norths Ipswich 0.
Points: Swifts 16 (30/3), Hancock Brothers 16 (23/11), Norths 10 (18/13), Easts 4 (6/27), Bellbowrie 1 (1/30).