TEM Weekly Review #9

Mid-week games this week for our four top sides before everyone gets the chance to enjoy a break in the middle of the season. With a couple of nail-biting draws and a great win by the Men’s Vic League 1 team to it was another fantastic round for TEM!

Mens Vic League 1 – Lights not working, torrential rain and state wide power outages have become customary for our VL1 boys on a Thursday night, so the challenge of facing top of the ladder Mentone HC at 9:30pm in Doncaster seemed completely reasonable. After becoming notorious for slow starts, TEM were determined to stake their claim and score first…..however…..Goalkeeper Adam "Bails" Bailey - potentially suffering from sight issues since turning 30 - clearly didn’t get the memo, kicking the ball into the opposition’s stick for a goal.

Not deterred by the early misfortune, TEM amped up the intensity putting Mentone under consistent pressure until the most unlikely of ‘Cluedo’ scenarios happened: It was Braden Pitcher. In the Circle. With the ball. Though normally a harmless situation, he managed to square the game up 1-1 which is how it would remain until halftime. 

The second half played out similarly to the first with both teams throwing the kitchen sink at each other. Vowing to work his way into the good books, Bails showed that age has no boundaries pulling out some phenomenal saves to demonstrate why he’s consistently in B&F contention. Knowing that a 70min effort was required to win the match, TEM stayed patient (despite creating a lot of chances) determined to create an upset…and that they did. With 5min to go, Charlie Blanchard’s dream 2016 debut became that much sweeter as he popped the ball into the net for the match winner. Grinding out the dying stages of the match TEM walked away with 3 points and a happy coach.

Mens Vic League 1 Reserves – A top of the table clash with Mentone out at the Doncaster Hockey ground on Wednesday night provided a chance for the Reserves to show their strength to the rest of the competition. What promised to be a high quality match did not disappoint, with both teams showing their ability and class, Mentone managed to capitalise with their circle entries bagging two goals in the first 15 minutes despite the 50/50 state of match play. New import Jonny "Farmer J" Rea managed to drag one back before the half with the boys down by 1.

With the second half starting with the same intensity as the first finished, the Reserves were quick to strike with Farmer J bagging his second and a brace. Both teams had multiple chances to take the lead but Mentone managed to get their 3rd with 10 minutes to go. In stepped Andrew "Hungry Hungry" Mills who placed a short corner flick into the bottom left corner with minutes to go to tie it at 3-3. The drama didn't stop there with spiritual leader Ben "Chewbacca" Jaffe making a crucial goal line save on a short corner awarded after the final whistle to ensure the points were split. A high quality match from both teams who will look to be battling out the top end for the remainder of the season!

Womens Premier League - TEM Premier League Women continued their team uprising as they stepped up against Mentone at the State Hockey Centre. TEM started in control and dominated the first 5 minutes, before succumbing to some pressure in the first half. Some great defensive circle work and solid saves by Bridgette Allen in goal kept the score line at nil all, until an unmarked player, and lapse of concentration, in the TEM defensive circle snuck the ball and Mentone scored a goal. 

Not to be outdone, the girls stepped up a gear and took it back to Mentone, with Gemma Donataccio equalising! Sam Wagg was strong at the back for a team in the second half and Sarah Tulloch dominated in the midfield. Mentone got a second scrappy goal after a difficult bouncing reverse shot found its way in with 15 minutes to go. TEM were not going down without a fight and stepped up yet again, with several close chances and a Jess Lucas shot that hit the crossbar. It was looking grim for the girls until they managed to earn a penalty corner with 15 seconds left on the clock. It was do or die! Some scrappy play at the top of the circle left a ball once again with Donataccio, who wound up and put the ball right into the corner to earn TEM a 2-2 draw and another point on the table. Things are looking up for the women's side! 

Womens Premier League Reserves – A very tough night out for the Reserves this week with the game scheduled for a 9.45pm start out at the Hockey Centre. TEM were also playing Mentone, who being strong and fast came at the girls in the first half putting five goals in before half time. With a string of disappointing results over the past few weeks this was disheartening. But along came Victor and with one serious half time pep-talk, the team picked themselves up and played a fantastic second half - and won it 2-0 (for a final score of 5-2). Jacquie Lawson, Jess Jacobs (who was awarded the crisp 2XU-Hi-Performance Visor this round) and Perri Dudley put excellent pressure on up forward and saw it translate on to the score board. A huge thanks to the PL girls and other loyal supporters for coming out on Tuesday!