By SAMUEL DARROCH
THE search for greater competition and diversity culminated in Latrobe Valley Hockey Association’s first interleague adventure at the weekend, when it hosted West Gippsland teams for a series of friendlies at Churchill Hockey Centre.
With four to six sides in LVHA senior men’s and women’s competition, association president Linda Reid said the experiment, slated for three weekends this season, was designed to offer a new frontier for both leagues.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a few years, certainly in West Gippsland the numbers are dwindling… so it’s really expanding our competition so you’re coming up against different people,” Reid said.
“In both associations you have your top teams and your lower teams; (this allows) your top teams more competition at a higher level and the teams at the lower level are going to be playing against similarly skilled people and they’re not going to get thrashed all the time.”
LVHA powerhouse Yallourn proved too strong for the Gulls in both men’s and women’s matches, but the Warriors flew the flag for West Gippsland with a narrow victory over Churchill’s men.
“It was a very, very fast competitive game, not much between the two teams at all, the game could have gone either way,” Reid said.
“Both goalies, particularly the Warriors’ goalie, was fantastic.”
While the LVHA plans to remain a separate entity to keep its junior base in local circles, Reid is hopeful of a gradual merger between the senior leagues.
“We’re not looking at merging the associations because we want to keep our juniors locally based, but certainly running a combined senior competition, that’s the ultimate aim,” she said.
The regular LVHA competition took a hiatus to allow for the interleague fixtures.
Yallourn 8 d Gulls 2 Goals – Yallourn: Jess Picker (6) and Kate Charalambous (2). Gulls: Nicole Gawley (2). Best – Yallourn: Jess Picker, Kate Charalambous and Marion Vince. Gulls: Nicole Gawley, Sarah Miles and Robyn Duffy.
Traralgon 5 d Drouids 2 Goals – Traralgon: Sue Harper (2), Ash Vermuillen, Jarryd Cake and Zoe Treloar.
Churchill 2 d Warriors 0
Moe 3 d Aztecs 1 Goals – Moe: Jared Cake (2) and Kate Wiltshire.
Yallourn 4 d Gulls 2 Goals – Yallourn: Ren Crunden-Smith (3) and Marion Vince. Gulls: Stuart Marriot and Pete Smith. Best – Yallourn: Guy Dawson, Oliver Pritchard and Ren Crunden-Smith. Gulls: Andrew Goetz, Jan Dondeus and Stuart Marriot.
Traralgon 1 dw Drouids 1 Goals – Traralgon: Andrew Edgar.
Warriors 1 d Churchill 0
Moe 3 d Aztecs 2 Goals – Moe: Paul Cake (2) and Bryan Cake.
Traralgon 2 d Churchill 1 Goals – Traralgon: Zizi Pozzebone and Chris Bolton. Churchill: Blake Billing. Best – Traralgon: Kylan Doble, Zizi Pozzebone and Chris Bolton. Churchill: Blake Billing, Sophie Almond and Nathanial Foster.
Chillis 4 d Yallourn 1 Goals – Chillis: Bresciano Wilson (3) and Renee Anderson. Yallourn: Jude. Best – Chillis: Jackson Amos, Holly Anderson and Renee Anderson. Yallourn: Jude, Ella Prior and Aiden Prior.
Traralgon 3 d Yallourn 2 Best – Traralgon: Sebastian Poole, Monique Miller and Art Pozzebone. Yallourn: Hanna Van Breugel, Gen Piercy and Jess Pisani.
Churchill 5 d Moe 1 Goals – Churchill: Eeman Zafar (2), Ihraam Zafar (2) and Louise Janssen. Moe: Dylan Jeffs. Best – Churchill: Aiden Barrett, Eeman Zafar and Hayley Proudlock. Moe: Damien Whelan, C Kurzawa and Claire Cake.
Traralgon 3 dw Moe 3 Goals – Traralgon: Ihraam Zafar (2) and Callum Lipman. Moe: Chloe Medew, Cameron West and Kate Wiltshire. Best – Traralgon: Ihraam Zafar, Callum Lipman and Damon Grove. Moe: Claire Cake, Chloe Medew and Jared Cake.