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AHL remains wide open after second round
25 Mar 2008 10:49

The Victorian Vipers, SmokeFree WA Diamonds and the Canberra Strikers all recorded comfortable victories while the OAMPS Queensland Blades just scrapped home against the NSW Arrows on day two of the women's AHL tournament.

Results 2nd round

Canberra Strikers - Southern Suns 6-2
SmokeFree WA Diamonds - NT Pearls 6-1
Victorian Vipers - Wrest Point Tassie Van Demons 5-1
OAMPS Queensland Blades - NSW Arrows 1-0

After two rounds the Southern Suns, NT Pearls and the Wrest Point Tassie Van Demons are still winless, while there appears to be no stand out favorite for top spot on the AHL ladder.

The first game of the day saw the Canberra Strikers produce a second half goal feast against the Southern Suns to secure victory.

In the first half both sides made the most of speedy wings. For the Strikers Charlotte Harrison was dynamic on right wing as was Karina Lucas. The Suns were helped by outstanding mid-field work by Kayla Sharland, Elise Stacy and Sarah Harrison.

The Strikers had more opportunities early on but did not make the most of their short corners. They eventually converted one short corner with an Emma Taylor drag flick giving them the lead 1-0 at half time.

The tide turned when Sarah Young passed to Renee Allen who slammed home a second for the Strikers in the 43rd minute. South Australia quickly replied with a reverse stick gaol by Amy Swann.

The Suns goal seemingly lifted the Strikers which signaled the beginning of the goal fest. The South Australians seemed to be completely shell-shocked and temporarily lost their composure. Emma Taylor converted a penalty corner for the Strikers, followed by three goals in three minutes to give them a commanding lead.

The Suns looked as though they were tiring in the second half however they refused to give up, with Kayla Sharland converting a short corner in the dying minutes.

Even thought the score was one sided, the game was fast and exciting and glimpses of brilliance from Nicole Arrold and Charlotte Harrison for ACT and Kayla Sharland for the Suns kept the crowd entertained.

The second match of the day saw the SmokeFree WA Diamonds make amends for their shock defeat against the NSW Arrows in yesterdays match, defeating the NT Pearls.

WA started strong in attack as Shelly Liddlow proved to be a dangerous player on the right wing, scoring WA's first goal and setting up their third.

In the second half WA made the most of their penalty corners with Emily Halliday slamming the ball into the net twice and three others touched in on the rebound by Chantelle Ciallella, Lisa Pamenter and Gemma Buckley.

The Pearls were not without their forward surges and Mayumi Ono was consistently in the fray and feeding the ball forward. In the 62nd minute a momentary lapse by the WA back line saw captain Angie Marriner cleverly swing through two players as Fiona Young scooped the ball over the goalie for NTs only score.

The home crowd were please to see a skilled high scoring game, with Emily Halliday, Lisa Pamenter, Chantelle Ciallella and Ashleigh Nelson all solid contributors.

Despite the final score line in the third match of the day, the Victorian Vipers were pushed by the Wrest Point Tassie Van Demons.

An early goal to Claire Messent gave the Victorians confidence however the Tassie girls plugged away and had the majority of the ball toward the end of the half.

The Tasmanian's work rate was rewarded when Emily Wilson slipped the ball past the keeper off a penalty corner making the score 1-1 at half time. Both Wilson and Lucy Ockenden worked hard and basic errors by Victoria lead to energy sapping turn-overs.

Tasmania seemed to have the upper hand at the beginning of the second half with Eloise Duay storming down the left wing on numerous occasions. Rough tackles were prevalent on both sides and the umpire stepped in on more than one occasion.

The Vics then had a second wind and started closing in on the circle. A penalty corner to the Vipers was then converted by Marie Van Veenedaal. The goal was helped by a lifting Tasmanian deflection. Claire Messent was on a mission and got two more goals, one a clean reverse stick slap into the right corner.

The uneven game was won through the perseverance of Victoria and some finishing flair by Messent.

The final match of the day saw the NSW Arrows and the OAMPS Queensland Blades come out firing on all cylinders, producing perhaps the best match of the tournament to date.

As the score line suggests, the match was tight from start to finish, with Queensland slightly having the upper hand in the first half.

Strong performances from Kate Hollywood and Casey Eastham kept the NSW team inspired, as Eastham's work rate was punishing.

A superb solo run by Suzie Faulkner resulted in the only goal of the half as she weaved past two players, forced the goalie commit and then having the time to wind up to shoot. A few more short corners to Queensland were to no avail as Toni Cronk made some great saves.

NSW worked tirelessly in the back-line and mid-field for the whole match but could not get past the classy Queensland backline lead by Angie Lambert and Melanie Wells. It was a true team effort by both sides.

In the end the OAMPS Queensland Blades walked away winners and remain undefeated, but the NSW Arrows will also walk away with their heads held high after taking it up to one of the tournament favorites.

Source: Hockey Australia

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