Wests enjoying early Ipswich competition rivalry
HOCKEY: Defending premiers Wests gained the early ascendancy over last year's grand final rivals Hancocks with a 4-2 victory in their first meeting of the new Ipswich A-Grade women's season.
However, Magpies coach Brent Nicholls expected the latest contest to set the tone for another absorbing series of clashes in 2019.
"It was very tight and a tough game,'' Nicholls said.
"It's what we all come to expect. The rivalry is very strong.''
After Hancocks applied immense pressure in the first quarter, Wests built a winning lead in the third quarter through two goals by former Australian player Amy Kickbusch.
"She seems happy enjoying her hockey,'' Nicholls said.
"She seems more comfortable back playing club level than she has in the past.
"She's fantastic in and around the girls.''
Amy Nicholls scored Wests' first goal from a corner with striker Jess Wilkinson sealing the win.
Hancocks' goal scorers were Natalie Davison and Aimee McDermott.
Wests' latest win follows their 3-2 victory over Swifts in the first round.
Nicholls praised Bluebirds teenage goalkeeper Hayley Petersen for a fine effort in that game.
"Their young keeper defended really well. She's a real a talent,'' Nicholls said.
Swifts opened their 2019 account by beating Norths 3-1 in their latest game on Sunday afternoon.
For Nicholls, the early rounds are about getting new players going especially with some early injuries.
"I'm pretty happy with how we've started. We didn't do a massive pre-season,'' the multiple premiership-winning coach said.
"A lot of these early games are just trying to find your feet, find a bit of rhythm, find a bit of form.''
Wests also have a trial planned tonight against the South West Queensland Lumberjills, who are preparing for this year's Super League series.
In the A-Grade men's competition, Wests held defending champions Hancocks to a 3-3 draw on Saturday night. Caleb McCoombes and Jackson Willie both netted hat-tricks.
Last year's grand finalists Norths opened their season after a first-round washout by beating the youthful Easts side 6-1 on Sunday afternoon.
State of play
A-Grade men: Hancock Brothers 3 (Jackson Willie 3) drew Wests 3 (Caleb McCoombes 3); Norths 6 (Zac Profke 2, Steven Ihle, Luke Brown, Dean Jeffrey, Kaleb Christensen) d Easts 1 (Tim Woodford).
A-Grade women: Wests 4 (Amy Kickbusch 2, Jess Wilkinson, Amy Nicholls) d Hancock Brothers 2 (Natalie Davison, Aimee McDermott); Swifts 3 (Susan Marcussen 2, McKenna Evans-Doherty) d Norths 1 (Jessica Chaplin).