2015 Women’s Team Reports

1st Grade

After getting a taste of finals in the 2014 season, the 1st Grade Panterettes were hungry to go even further for 2015 and they didn’t waste anytime getting started. Preseason fitness and training saw excellent numbers making for a healthy competitive environment. These sessions involved testing including strength, speed and endurance (sometimes even agility when you had to dodge the kite the crossed your running path).

This enthusiasm shown early on the season was rewarded at our first competition, the Hunter Cup in Newcastle. The long hot day saw the Pantherettes coming away with the win after beating local rivals GNS in the final. This tournament as well as the super 11s played at Ryde, gave the 1st Grade girls a glimpse of what they could achieve for the season and the girls and coaching staff were excited to get the season underway.  

There were various changes within the team this year with a number of players having off field commitments that left them unavailable to play. Although this was a loss for the team, this saw for the opportunity to welcome a number of new faces. Unfortunately 1st Grade super striker Kirsten Pearce was unavailable to play this season, as she was busy dominating the world stage for the New Zealand Black Sticks. Despite her large training and competition schedule, Kirsten was able to attend some of the Pantherettes club games, displaying her continual support for the girls, and providing them with the inspiration and motivation that they needed.   

One of 1st Grade’s major changes was the appointment of new head coach Jai Singhota. The experienced coach provided the girls with a breath of fresh air. He was ready to be the person to help the girls reach the finals by targeting the fundamentals of hockey, shaping sessions, basic skills development and team cohesion were just some of the key aspects of his game plan.

Metro League this year was a very tight competition and the girls knew that they had to work very hard if they wanted to make it all the way to finals. They were very much in the position to make finals this year, being very competitive against the top teams all the way to the end of the competition. The season proved challenging both in competition and out. With a large portion of the team residing outside of the Sydney area, this saw it difficult for the team to train together as a whole. Representative duties also contributed to these challenges, with the team often having to rely on lower grade players to step up and maintain their competitive position. Despite their efforts, the 1st Grade girls were unable to secure a top four spot, coming in at close 6th. Although this was disappointing for the girls and coaching staff, it was encouraging to see that such a young and new team could match it with the best teams in Sydney.

Evidence of improvement was shown through the year for the 1st grade girls. Highlights included beating UTS 8-3 after losing 6-2 earlier in the season, a win against Moorebank in round 8 (2-1) with a large number of girls unavailable due to representative commitments and having a great game against Premier winners Sydney Uni only losing 3-1 towards the end of the season.

This year saw a number of 1st Grade girls having representative honours with NSW teams as well as other representative honours. Congratulations need to be made to the following players; Kendall Steele (U16s All Schools Team, U18s NSW Team), Morgan Blamey (U18s NSW Team, U21s AAP NSW Team), Maddy Stewart (U21s AAP NSW Team), Ashley Ninness (U21s AAP NSW Team), Katie Kelly (South Australia Opens Country Team, Australian Country Team), Rachael Divall (U21s AAP NSW Team, NSW Arrows Squad, Northern Territory Pearls), Mikaela Patterson (U21s NSW Team, NSW Arrows Squad, Northern Territory Pearls), and Tegan Richards (U21s NSW Team, NSW Arrows Squad, Northern Territory Pearls). Also acknowledgements go to Jai who coached the NSW Men’s country team and who will go away with the U21s Men’s Australian Country Team to Fiji. Assistant coach Amauri Amat also inspired the girls after a fantastic representative year, competing at the Trans Tasman Cup and Australian Masters Championship.

Congratulations to all the girls for their fantastic efforts for the year. Also a big thanks goes to coaches Jai and Muz as well as manager Jen Manuel for believing in us and keeping us all in line. Your contribution to the team is invaluable and all the girls highly appreciate your dedication and commitment to not only the team, but Ryde Hockey Club.

 

Tegan Richards

1st Grade Co-Captain

2nd Grade

It was a bit of deja vu for the Ryde women’s 2nd grade team, finishing in the exact same position on the table as 2014, second by one point. We did however have a successful final series making the grand final against the competition winners, Glebe. Unfortunately we didn’t come away with the win this year but a great effort by the entire team and something to aim for in 2016.

The team started the season with an eight game winning streak which left us in a great position. Unfortunately we didn’t come away with a win in the next four games. This was a turning point in the season forcing the girls to really look at their game and make some positive changes, testament to the girl’s commitment and hard work at training we were able to change our luck and move into a strong position for the finals.

ML2 is a tough competition with some very polished teams to compete against. Ryde 2nd grade team weathered the storm on many occasion to come out with the points, and also had some very convincing wins.

It was a pleasure to lead the team and rewarding to see everyone’s enthusiasm, hard work and commitment pay off by making the grand final. The numbers at training each week was second to none and was testament to the teams’ unity.

I would like to thank Sonya Nicholl & Scott Morrison for all of their hard work and commitment in coaching the team. We appreciate all the extra hours and frustration that comes with coaching the 2nd grade women and it certainly paid off. A special thanks to Una Morrison for all her efforts behind the scenes as our team manager.

The team also benefited from a huge amount of support and guidance from Larry Macintosh, the girls really look up to him and respect his coaching style and assistance especially throughout the finals. Thank you for your commitment to the club and our team.

 

Jen Manuel

2nd Grade Captain

3rd Grade

Steve and Steph made it quite clear right from the get go, Ryde’s 2015 3rd grade women’s team had a HUGE season ahead of them. We had a lot to prove coming off last year’s turn-around season and although we had a completely different squad from 2014, Steve ensured we had our work cut out for us.

Most weeks we had 3-4 subs which provided Steve and Steph with flexibility of rotations, allowing them to use any player almost anywhere on the field. It’s wasn’t uncommon for us to play out of our preferred positions. In saying this, the team taking the pitch each week was rarely the same due to holidays and/or representative commitments.

We won 9 and drew 2 games before having our first loss to Manly 1 in Round 12; it’s fair to say we really hit the ground running.

Our main focuses for the season were to develop our basic skills and increase our fitness/strength levels – in Steve’s words, “BETTER, STRONGER, HARDER”. This would in turn promote our ability to hold possession and trust each other, lead into space whilst playing the ball wide and high and stack up against the more mature women in the opposing teams. The younger girls learnt early how tough the older women really were.

But it was a long season! We picked up an extra training session following our first loss. We were yet to beat Manly and in order to do so we needed to get physically and mentally prepared. We knew we needed to work on refining our skills, defend harder, penetrate the circle, read the game better and play as a team. I would like to commend all the women and coaches for their attendance and commitment to our trainings. Having 10+ women at training twice a week is outstanding. Even with junior hockey, school and work commitments, it was a great effort which contributed to our almost perfect success.

We finished 2nd best after round 18 – one loss and two draws behind Manly who remained undefeated all season.

It was semi-finals time and the team came out firing against Manly in the first half, leading 2-0 after 35 minutes. But we couldn’t mirror the high tempo in the second half and came away with a 2-2 draw. But we had the second chance in finals and secured a solid 3-0 win against Strikers. Grand final day was upon us – Manly put away an early goal and held a strong defensive line for the remainder of the game. Though we had many chances, it wasn’t our day. We went down 0-1.

I felt the highlight of our season was coming into the grand final and really matching the standard of Manly’s. What let us down in the semi was not playing the full 70 minutes. But the grand final remained a very high standard for the duration of the game, we were just unlucky to not put a few goals away. I hope this will give all the girls ammunition to get back there again next year and secure the win regardless of which team they are selected in!

I must say, having a team of mixed ages brought a lot of fun and youth to the game as well as maturity which really complemented one another out on the pitch. I would like to mention and applaud each woman individually. It was a pleasure to play with you all and it was clear from the beginning to the end of the season that we bonded as a team and we grew as individual players; Kara-Lee Walton, Emily Manners, Amanda Truong, Karla Nicholl, Letitia Cooper, Tegan Lindsay, Ali Westmore, Gabby Dunn, Ellie Cullen, Bec Liebson, Taylor Sookias, Alex Hoffman, Bianca Klein, Jess Dobbin, Claire Bennett and Jess Smith – Thank you! Also big congratulations to our Best and Fairest, Bianca Klein – well deserved!

I would also like to thank a few people – Coach, Steve Dunn and Assistant Coach/Manager, Steph Dwyer. They both made the season run incredibly smoothly. We had people coming and going all season and they handled it effortlessly. Their time, dedication and the amount of work they put into this team week in / week out definitely did not go unnoticed – thank you for wanting to help develop each and every player. It was also great to see the desire to want to help develop the junior girls as they make the transition from junior to senior. Thanks to John Cullen for stepping in to assist Steve when needed. His knowledge of the game was beyond helpful. Also a special thanks to all the support from the girls in all grades that doubled up when needed – it was very much appreciated.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed all of Steve’s hard work over the last two years takes 3rd Grade as well as the other women’s grades to premiership next year! Looking forward to an even better year ahead. Bring on 2016!

 

Bec Dawson

3rd Grade Captain

4th Grade

A team full of potential, a team of youth and experience and two enthusiastic coaches. This was the right mixture for success.

The team had a slow start to the season and was coach less until Wally Welsman step up to the plate and was shortly followed by Mick Gunner. Their enthusiasm for success was contiguous and 4th grade went on to win all but 2 games and finished at the top of the table and took home the Minor Premiership.

Next was the final series, where 4th grade managed to bring home the win in the Major Semi and sealed a place in the grand final. Unfortunately 4th grade had their 3rd loss of the season. But this loss has left 4th grade hungry to return and take out the win.

On behalf of 4th grade I would like to thank Ryde’s Management Team and especially Jess Dobbin for all her hard work during the season. Wally and Mick for coaching the team, Renee Dawson for being an awesome manager and ensuring that we all knew where to be each week. To our supporters on the hill, thank you for your support, cheering and photos.

Enjoy the off season and I hope to see you all fit and ready for next year.

 

Kara Retford

4th Grade Captain

5th Grade

5th grade this year was promoted to A division after last year’s success of making B division grand final. We started off with 7 members of that team being brought up to the new division. That being our AMAZING goal scorer Kyleigh, Hannah our now promoted from back line, play maker centre half, Kat our never give up hope motivation , Chu our energetic bunny, Quinn always reliable fullback, Kara the ultimate goalie who actually played field for us this year and was good at it, and myself. Unfortunately the competition was to competitive for Chu as she requested to go down a division. Kat also broke her wrist during the season so missed the last few rounds.

We managed to gain three players from UTS (thanks to Kat). Meg our inner who never gave up running and was always positive. Siobhan (Meg’s sister) was rather unorthodox in her approach to tackles and continued to improve her skills throughout the season. Lastly Steph our AMAZING half who was an inspiration to everyone, she had great skill and was always positive and encouraging to every member of our team.

Our team welcomed new comers to the club Lisa and Dom. Lisa has come quite a long way with Ryde. She was very quite at trials when I first met her. I introduced myself, grabbed her name and demanded that she should play 5th grade. Lisa has developed throughout the season by always coming to training and being willing to adapt to any situation she is put in (lastly if you know Lisa she is a barrel of laughs and never quite.) This leads me to Dom. She came to our team about 2 or 3 games in. The funny thing is with Dom the more you play with her the more you love her. On the field Dom had amazing skills and was EXTREMELY talkative. Dom unfortunately couldn’t play out the season with us due to personal circumstances, however we all missed her greatly and wish her all the best! We hope to see her joining the mighty five next year.

Some may see playing for SNWHA as a negative, yet we accepted these next three players with arms open wide. Wendela played about half the season with us. She had the ultimate hit on her and was a great forward for our team. However she had to make a decision and choose North bears over us, which we all respected. Trudy came to us halfway through the season as a goalie, due to Tess being unavailable for about 3 weeks. Trudy took our team to a new level. Through her direction and game reading we managed to win some games that in all honesty no one saw coming. She continued on with our team as a field player and yet again managed to prove that goalies clearly make amazing field players. This leaves Erin. I have played with Erin in SWHL before and we all know she has skills in no matter what position she plays. This year though Erin really stepped up and helped me out, not only as a player, but as a manager of team. Her dedication to our team is greatly appreciated. While our coach was away she stepped up and organised training for us. This in my opinion (as I was suppose to do it) is extremely hard. She stepped into the role and showed great confidence and leadership. Erin was the motivation driving our team forward and we wouldn’t have made it as far as we did without her.

Last but not least our goalie Tess. Last year Tess played the lowest division in women’s. It was quite a jump from D division to A division for her. However Tess improved throughout the season. Her goal saves towards the end of the season where mind blowing. She received assistance from Mick Gunner who took a special interest in her and our former goalie Kara. Tess developed as goalie with our team and started to show confidence as each game went on. I still remember the half time talk one of our inners excitedly telling everyone about her talking and pulling the backline into place. Through constant encouragement I feel that Tess has improved as goalie has secured her status as 5th grade goalie. Funnily enough everyone was shocked to find out her actual age at our last game, which is credit to Tess’s skills.

Hockey is just not about the skills that people bring to the team but the coaches. I would like to give special mention to Tim. He stepped up to the roll once again. Coaching is a hard job however from a distance makes it even harder. Tim was amazing throughout the season, from training sessions to half time talks. He was always positive – no matter the score line. Tim was away for nearly half the season due to work. I constantly received e-mails, texts and phone calls about what we needed to work on at training, inspirational half time speech and stressing out that someone was unavailable for the up-coming game. Tim is an amazing coach and we wouldn’t have gotten down to the wire to make to finals without him.

Special mention also goes to Dean. I managed to recruit Dean (under Tim’s direction), to take us for a few games while Tim was away. Dean stepped up in a way that no one imagined he would. He attended every training session from that point. He helped each individual with skills they needed to improve on and changed our overall game plan. Dean even run a “back to basics” training session for both A and D division. I actually learned quite a bit about technique from this and felt it benefited the way i played. He could of stepped back and let Tim carry on however he continued to come to training and games, giving advice to not only Tim but the team on ways we could win the games. Dean managed to strengthen our team and show each and every member that they deserved to be in A grade.

 

This year although we didn’t make finals, has been one of the greatest years I have played. I’ve had a special request from every member in the team to be play 5th grade for Ryde again next year. This is very rare that each and every member wants to play in the same team. I will do my best to ensure this goal is achieved and hope that our team remains the same. Our team has been chopped and changed through out the season, however we all feel that once our team was finalised, we all stepped up and managed to prove to everyone that we deserved to be in A grade.

I would also like to thank all the Ryde players that helped us out throughout the season, from 3rd Grade to 7th Grade.

Hopefully the mighty fives from 2015 will be kept the same and start from where we left on.

Katie Duncan

5th Grade Captain

6th Grade

With the growth of the club in 2015, this was the first time the club had a team in this division. There was a mixture of younger and older players in the team with many players new to the club. We were nimble and quick and often could outrun many of the other teams. The team showed great potential and had some good wins.

We had a solid start to the season but as the season progressed we had this uncanny ability to outplay the other teams in all parts of the field except the attacking and defending Ds. This lead to some inconsistency in our results and we did not make the finals.

On behalf of our team, I wish to thank our coach, Chris, who continued to show up each week despite us causing him some frustration from not being able to convert our potential into wins. His effort was made even more remarkable by the logistical challenge of getting to all the games and practice when he does not own a car!

This years experience will be a great building block for the team in the years to come. Thanks to everyone for their great effort.

Georgie Robertson

6th Grade Captain

7th Grade

What an amazing season! With a strong squad from 2014 bolstered by the additions of Astrid, Mel & I, we started the season strong with great wins 3-0 and 2-0 against Briars and Manly. Amanda was off to a flyer at the start of the season, scoring 5 goals in 2 games!

We lost Amanda early in the season for a move to Canberra, so Marielle had some big shoes to fill as CF but did brilliantly, especially considering she used to play Full Back! Chu and Ali also joined us during the season and they brought great fitness and skill to the squad! Chu joined our indefatigable inners, Toni & Alex whilst Ali played opposite Leigh on the other wing.

Cameos from other Ryde players were also very welcome, including Quin, FBR Lisa, Luisa, Georgie R, Kat, Yas plus Anna, Georgie & Tina G. Thank you all! Selina and Leigh also helped us out by filling in as Goalkeeper at short notice – I was thankful for such a talented squad!

Trudy joined us in goal late in the season and was a brilliant addition defensively, working together with our amazing Full Backs, Michelle, Gill and Shelley – organising us from the back and saving a few goals!

Highlights include coming back from 3-1 down against our strongest opposition UTS to draw 3-3 at full time and a 5-1 victory against Briars in Round 10, including a hat-trick from Lucinda. We hadn’t lost a game until round 15 when UTS got one over on us with a 2-1 victory. By the end of the season, we had made it into finals and were looking forward to a shot at the Grand Final.

Mac Uni were our first opponents in the finals and came out fighting hard. We held them to a 1-1 draw and went into the next round. With a valiant golden point win over Warringah, we were through to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, we met Red Bears who were too strong on the day, despite great teamwork, effort and passing hockey, even in the heat of spring!

All in all, it has been a brilliant, fun season. We have all improved as players individually and as a team – some of us learning the “shave” at a clinic with Tom Craig & spending time with Larry reviewing basic skills and attacking formations was invaluable. Thanks to the team for a great season!

Deb Bowyer

7th Grade Captain/Coach

8th Grade

The 2015 season started off slowly. While some of the players had played together the previous year, some were coming back from injury, some were returning to hockey after many, many years absence and some had never played hockey before but had decided that 2015 was the year to give hockey a try. The core team consisted of Sam Benson, Jessica Cheung, Rosemary Christie, Sam da Sousa, Tara Fermor, Laura Hines, Yasmine Johnson, Therese Lee, Susan Matthews, Klav Narsay, Pippa Quilty, Annette Reeves, Luisa Ruperto, Lousia Schultz and Sarah Whatmough.

Ryde 8s was a diverse team, with a lot of experience, mixed with some youth and lots of enthusiasm. The team was very motivated, full of players determined to get the most out of their hockey and improve themselves during the year. Despite being the lowest graded team and training in the late time slot each Thursday night, every week between 10 to 14 players would be at training, a consistently better turn out than many of the other teams. Even after training officially finished at 9pm, many of the players of the team would stay back, practising, practicing, and practicing.

During the year we had some great wins, some sad and surprising losses (who will ever forget that horrid day up at Kuring-gai playing Mirrabooka), but overall we did ok, eventually overtaking the Norths Blues to finish in second spot on the table. After some tough finals games, we eventually emerged as grand final contenders.

The Ryde 8s were true underdogs in the grand final, playing the minor premiers, UTS. Ryde had not beaten UTS during the year. No one had. They were undefeated. We were equal with UTS for the best defensive record for the season on goals conceded, but UTS had scored a LOT more goals than us and beaten us 4-1 in the semi-final. To add to the difficulties, our fantastic keeper, Yasmine, was not available for the grand final. None of the other regular Ryde goal keepers were available or eligible, so there was an edge of despair over the last few days as we searched for options. Eventually Selina Ellis padded up to contest the grand final.

Most people did not think we had much hope. But as John Cullen says, on the day, any team can beat any team. And this was one of those days. About 20 minutes into the first half, Ryde 8s attacked again, using great teamwork to carry the ball up to the UTS defensive quarter. A pass from Pippa in the centre found Susan just to the left of the top of the circle, the place she had scored from in the semi-final against Norths Blues. Could it happen again? It sure could! Susan slotted the ball neatly into the goal, a little inside the left post, just as we had seen her do a number of times during the year. It was a goal!!! Ryde 8s and their supporters were ecstatic, UTS were shocked and the score was 1-0 to Ryde.

During the rest of the tense, hard fought match, both teams struggled for control in the wet conditions. But the mighty Ryde 8th grade team lifted and everyone played above themselves. In the end, Ryde succeeded in executing the game plan of marking the two key UTS forwards out of the game, which prevented UTS from scoring. The UTS players had gone into the game with some complacency and in the end the Ryde players just wanted it more and dug deeper. The final score: 1-0 to Ryde.

I would particularly like to thank the various players who filled in for us during the year, especially some of our juniors who filled in towards the end of the season. I particularly want to mention Emma, who put her body on the line in a big way during the grand final – what an introductions to senior hockey. But without her constant close marking of the UTS centre forward, the game may well have had a different outcome. Thanks Emma!

The Ryde 8th grade team was happy team, supportive and friendly and I found it a very positive experience to be playing with them this year. Thanks to all the players for their contribution- we all did our best and it paid off. Also a big thanks to our coach, Gavin Hughes, who after coaching men for some years decided to take on the challenge of coaching women. Gav put in a lot of time and effort this year and worked hard to help us improve our hockey and enjoy ourselves at the same time.

Qualifying for a grand final in senior hockey is an opportunity that does not come often, and then actually winning it is just so exciting because of the honour and the rarity of the experience. As Ryde 8th grade, we were clearly not a team of Champions, but together we became a Champion Team! It was an honour to be part of it.        

Pippa Quilty

8th Grade Captain