Wests' A-Grade players celebrate a goal during their remarkable comeback victory in last night's grand final at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
Wests' A-Grade players celebrate a goal during their remarkable comeback victory in last night's grand final at the Ipswich Hockey Complex. Cordell Richardson

Now it's time to celebrate: Historic triumph for Wests

FOUR A-Grade titles in a row. Four senior premierships in one weekend.

For Wests Hockey Club, it was the perfect way to put the icing on their 50 year celebrations.

However, all their latest Ipswich competition grand final teams needed tenacity and strokes of skill to complete their fantastic four record.

The Wests' A-Grade women sealed the Ipswich club's wonderful weekend by coming from 2-0 down on Saturday night to finally overpower a gritty Hancocks combination 4-2.

That fourth consecutive grand final triumph came after the club's Reserve Grade men completed a hat-trick of titles with a 3-2 extra-time success over Easts.

Earlier in the day, the Wests White women also needed additional time, albeit less than a minute, to upstage Easts 3-2. Speedster Talicia Canty broke the deadlock with a super goal in the first period of extra time.

The club's winning domination in a milestone year was launched by the Wests' A2 women's side on Friday night. They also needed additional time to conquer Thistles 3-2 in shootouts.

The minor premiership and mid-season trophy winning Wests' A2 side was fittingly guided by club life members Leanne Jackson (coach) and Donna Costello (manager).

 

A grade hockey grand final between Hancock Brothers and Wests.
Victorious Wests co-captains Eden Jackat and Amy Kickbusch. Cordell Richardson

For A-Grade co-captains Eden Jackat and club stalwart Amy Kickbusch, the hard-fought victory over Hancocks capped the club's all-round accomplishment.

"It's an amazing achievement,'' Jackat said, after scoring three of Wests' four goals.

"We've had one loss (all season) . . . and I'm really glad and proud of the girls, coming from behind two-nil to win 4-2 shows our experience and determination.

"I don't think any of us were ready to lose that game.''

 

A grade hockey grand final between Hancock Brothers and Wests.
The Wests' A-Grade hockey side that won four grand finals in a row. Cordell Richardson

Former international player and Wests junior Kickbusch was equally proud of what the Magpies delivered after she scored her team's decisive second goal to level the game at 2-2.

"It's fantastic,'' Kickbusch said. "We've had some (50th anniversary) celebrations throughout the year and we've done a lot of special things and had our special shirts.

"So it was really nice to finish it off and have just a great end to the year.''

Hancocks made the perfect start with Abby Eleison and Natalie Davison putting their team 2-0 up in the first quarter.

However, Wests had to find something special to meet the challenge.

"I was very nervous,'' Kickbusch said, reflecting on Hancocks' spirited start.

"I was just waiting for something to kick and hopefully start the comeback.

"We just dug deep and one at a time, we clawed our way back and that just shows the guts of our team.

"We've been a part of it together for a lot of years so we can rely on each other and we trust each other and we just know if we all dig deep, we can come back.''

 

 

A grade hockey grand final between Hancock Brothers and Wests.
The Wests' A-Grade women savour their fourth consecutive grand final title and fourth success for the club on Saturday night. Cordell Richardson

 

Jackat agreed. "They (Hancocks) were ready to start the game where we should have been. We weren't,'' Jackat said.

"But we progressed and got to that stage eventually.

"I don't think personally we were going to lose. I was always positive about the comeback.''

Asked how it compared to her three previous A-Grade grand final wins with Wests, skilful attacking midfielder Jackat answered: "Probably feels harder fought to be honest''.

"I think it's a lot of pressure having three in a row . . . but I think it was that pressure which made us fight even harder.''

Kickbusch said the victory was also a fitting way to send off master mentor Brent Nicholls who is not going to coach next year "so it's pretty special for us''.

Nicholls' daughter Gabby was voted Wests' player of the final.

A-Grade women's grand final: Wests 4 (Eden Jackat 3, Amy Kickbusch) def Hancocks 2 (Abby Eleison, Natalie Davison).

Player of the final: Layla Eleison (Hancocks).

Shared success

BEFORE Wests' weekend domination, the first four titles on Ipswich senior grand final day were won by four different clubs.

The A2 men's grand final was clinched 10-3 by Hancocks over Norths with former international player Jake Burns smashing home seven goals.

Swifts finished their R2 women's season on a high with 4-1 victory over Hancock Brothers.

The R2 men's final was a thriller with Norths coming from 1-0 down to hold out Easts 2-1.

A feature of the R2 transition competition was the tremendous camaraderie and sportsmanship between both teams after the game - full story online tomorrow.