Player shortages not enough to stop Park Ave glory
HOCKEY: A shortage of senior players was never going to put a stop to Park Avenue A-Grade’s determination to leave their all out on the turf.
While it was a brisk start to the evening at Kalka Shades, sundown bought with it a showcase of both tenacious and tight ball work in a nailbiting face-off against Southern Suburbs.
Keen to rebound from last week’s 11-nil defeat against The Wanderers, Park Avenue proved that an inexperienced squad did not necessarily mean an easy defeat – claiming a hard-fought 1-0 win.
Fortunately, said Men’s coach Robert Sweeney, both teams faced the same issues of younger players filling the senior’s line-up – a result of decreased players returning post-COVID-19.
“We were filled with a lot of young boys and a little bit of inexperience, but we had a few older fellas come back and help us out.”
No substitute players for either side furthered ensured a more level playing field for the game’s duration.
“Both teams only had 11 players and we’re still finding out feet with the player numbers,” he revealed.
The showdown proved to be the perfect matching of skills; Southern Suburb’s impressive efforts proving a consistent hurdle for Park Avenue’s early attempts at goal.
“It was very tight affair. We did it tough there for a while, but we stuck to our game plan for more of a zone defence.”
“We got a goal late in the second half and defended it well from there,” Mr Sweeney said.
A major sticking point for side – combined of both A1 and A2 players – looked to be the retrieval and execution of hitting the out from the fences.
‘We’ve got to get out and get it forward, we’ve just got concentrate on our passes and maintaining possessions.”
“We were too loose on the ball today, so that’s something we can work on moving forward.”
Southern Suburbs tallied a giveaway of only one penalty corner in the well-fought battle, while Park Avenue returned only a small handful.
Junior goalkeeper Colby Cross delivered another outstanding performance, Sweeney said, noting the 17-year-old’s outstanding effort in making many vital saves.
Park Avenue next week go head-to-head against Frenchville, who on Saturday afternoon suffered an 8-0 loss to the undefeated Wanderers.
“That game was just an exhibition of very good hockey and they’re going to be the ones to roll.”
“To get anywhere close to [The Wanderers], we’ll just have to build up steadily and take it one week at a time.”
“All in all, it was a good result and I’m very proud of our boys today for putting in the effort,” Mr Sweeney commended.
Wanderers – 8 v Frenchville – 0
Park Avenue – 1 v Southern Suburbs – 0