Strathdale undid the good work of an impressive first half from the Shepparton Strikers as the Bendigo side claimed a 4-1 victory in Sunday’s Regional Hockey League grand final.
Parallel to the Strikers’ men’s team, the women also went one goal ahead in the first half through Bec Matthews at the Shepparton hockey fields.
Matthews was one of her side’s best players in the opening period until she injured her hamstring before the first half was over.
Strikers captain Rachelle Collins said while the star player battled on, it impacted the side’s output for the rest of the match.
‘‘Bec Matthews was playing really well until she hurt herself towards the end of the first half,’’ she said.
‘‘She played on, but she wasn’t able to run at full capacity ... it had a negative impact because she’s one of our main runners.’’
The Strikers tried to overcome the setback and stay in touch with Strathdale, which had plenty of new faces from when the Shepparton team last played against them.
‘‘We felt like it was a really great game, it was tough competition and a very different side to the side we played last time,’’ Collins said.
‘‘I think there was lots of great team work and lots of opportunities with lots of passing backwards and forth to each other.’’
Goalkeeper Hannah Scholz stood firm for her side, keeping a cool head under pressure.
But with the Tigers continually barraging the attacking end, the Bendigo side worked its way into control of the match.
Collins said her defenders held up a defiant guard, but some classy plays from Strathdale moved it ahead on the scoreboard.
‘‘We were feeling quite positive, then we just had some unlucky defence where they unfortunately scored,’’ she said.
‘‘We weren’t quite able to bring it back but the game was quite even between the two teams.’’
But Collins said her side would only build from this game, with the grand prize of the Goulburn Valley Hockey Association premiership still up for grabs.
‘‘Even from the loss we can still take out the positive things that we can take on towards the end of the season and we’ll aim at making the grand final in the GV,’’ she said.
Echuca-Moama gun Shae Oliver was awarded best and fairest for this year’s Regional Hockey League season.