THE RSL Rovers Hockey Club has the opportunity to cap off one of its most successful seasons in the Hastings District Women’s Hockey Association grand finals at the Ocean Drive Complex, Port Macquarie, this weekend.
The club will field a team in each of the four grand finals being contested this weekend - the first time since the Ocean Drive Hockey Complex opened in 1995.
The club fielded six teams this season with the fourth senior side eliminated in the B grade semi-final and the second junior outfit not progressing to the play-off rounds.
The A grade team has been in a building process for the past two years and is now seeing the benefit of their “youth” policy with seven of their players coming through the junior ranks in recent seasons.
This year saw four of the older players step aside to allow the younger brigade their chance at first grade.
RSL Rovers finished the season as minor premiers and will meet Forster Strikers in the grand final tomorrow.
The two teams have met on five occasions during the season with Strikers holding the advantage 3-2.
The semi-final clash saw the two teams battle out a 1-all draw with Rovers progressing to the grand final due to their higher position on the points table.
The A Reserve grade team is a mix of youth and experience and can expect a hard and physical game from their opponents, Signatures 2, tomorrow.
RSL Rovers 2 has defeated Signatures 2 on three occasions, been beaten once and was held to a draw in the semi-final.
In the semi-final, Rovers has the majority of ball possession and field position but could not convert this into points on the score card.
The extra game this week for RSL Rovers 2 saw a marked improvement in the goalscoring department as they defeated Wapiti five goals to one.
RSL Rovers 2: Debbie Hurrell (coach and defender), Danielle Watkins (goalkeeper), Sharon Farlow and Sophie Priddis (deep defenders), Sam Turnham, Judi Turnham, Debbie Hurrell and Sarah Murray (half line), Denise Groth, Sally Moriarty, Kylie Dykes and Debbie Kershaw (strikers), Kate Miller, Jenny Winnett and Sarah Hemsley (inside forwards).
RSL Rovers 3 placed third on the B grade points table and, until the final, had not beaten minor premiers Nulla All Stars.
The team, coached by Margaret Smith, has had a mixed season with illness and injury causing line up changes nearly every week.
Grand final opponents Signatures Conquerors and Rovers 3 have met on four occasions this season with the results being two draws and two wins in Signatures’ favour.
With Conquerors displaying their best form in their last game, they have a big chance of winning if they combine well and control the ball.
Rovers 3: Robin Slater (goalkeeper), Pam Avery and Alaine Cooper (deep defence), Cathryn Cook, Maudie Walsh and Rebecca Wilcox (halves), Alisa Alden, Sue Myers and Michelle Groth (strikers), Kylie Dykes and Anna Dixon (inside forwards).
RSL Rovers Juniors, coached by Denise Groth, have had a great season and very deserving grand finalists.
The side tackles an undefeated Signatures Juniors outfit this evening at the Ocean Drive Complex.
The team’s best result against Signatures was a draw but the RSL Rovers are a very confident side and keen to turn the tables on their much-fancied opponents.
RSL Rovers Juniors: Danielle Watkins (goalkeeper), Sarah Rose, Kim Fulton and Lisa Saley (deep defenders), Alyce Smith, Kristy Miller, Cathryn Whiteoak and Cathryn Cook (halves), Kristy Raisborough, Brook Robertson, Michelle Groth and Kate Moriarty (strikers), Jessica Lyons, Hannah Walmsley and Trista Lee (inside forwards).