Wests young guns fire up after valuable state experience
HOCKEY: Fresh from a stint helping Ipswich's under-18 boys at the state titles, Greg Walker saw the benefits with his A-Grade side Wests.
Ipswich under-18 utility player Ben Peters was among the goal scorers in Wests' latest 3-2 win over Toowoomba Past High in the Combined Competition.
"He's a fit little kid,'' Walker said of Peters, who co-captained Ipswich's representative side at last week's state under-18 championships at Raceview.
"He doesn't stop running the whole game.''
Peters was joined in the Ipswich under-18 side by Wests teammates goalkeeper Matthew West, Nathan Moss and Ayden Saric-Pamenter.
Wests player/coach Walker was thrilled to see the rising players receive more valuable experience at state level.
"It builds their confidence up,'' Walker said.
"You realise how good they can actually go when they play with kids their own age. You don't sort of notice it so much in the A-Grade comp but when they go back to under 18s, they stand out a lot more.''
Walker assisted long-time Wests teammate Todd Watson prepare the Ipswich under-18 boys during the cut-throat three-day championships, where Ipswich finished fifth despite only one loss to eventual state title winners Tweed.
"They are a good bunch of kids actually to work with,'' Walker said of the Ipswich boys.
"They had two older guys in the team who are 18 (Moss and Jake Thornton) and the rest have another couple of years in the under-18 comp.
"Hopefully if Toddie puts in and does it again, I can give him a hand again.
"I really enjoyed it. They are all senior players but they are still kids as well.
"Some of them I didn't really know until the end of the tournament.''
Peters scored Wests' third goal at the Ipswich Hockey Complex on Sunday.
Inside/winger Matthew Westphal netted the other two goals as Wests built a 3-1 lead before holding out their Toowoomba challengers.
Although happy with the win, Walker said Wests "had a lot of opportunities we probably should have put away, myself included''.
However, he was encouraged Wests held on after recently losing some tight encounters.
Wests were the only winning Ipswich men's team from the latest round of A-Grade matches.
Toowoomba Newtown defeated Easts 2-1 and Red Lion (Toowoomba) held out Norths Ipswich 7-5. Both those games were in Toowoomba on Sunday afternoon.
Walker said Wests were still vying for second spot in the fast-approaching Ipswich finals.
Wests tackle Norths Ipswich on Saturday night before their last Combined Competition match against Rangeville in the annual series with Toowoomba sides.
That leaves a final round of Ipswich competition matches leading into the playoffs.
In the women's A-Grade competition, defending Ipswich champions Wests beat Toowoomba Past High 3-1 and Norths Ipswich completed a handy 3-1 victory over Toowoomba Red Lion.
Wests continued their winning run at Raceview with Norths Ipswich enjoying their latest success in Toowoomba.
A-Grade men: Wests 3 (M Westphal 2, B Peters) d Past High 2 (S MacIntyre, J Mogg); Newtown 2 d Easts 1 (J Robertson); Red Lion 7 d Norths Ipswich 5 (Z Profke 3, N Maddocks, B Walker).
A-Grade women: Wests 3 (A Nicholls, E Picton, J Wilkinson) d Past High 1 (E Rogers); Norths Ipswich 3 (E Alchin, C Brown, S Fynes-Clinton) d Red Lion 1.