State Mens Teams


WA Over 40's - 2013 Match Reports


WA vs TAS - Sunday, September 29, 2013

The WA Over 40 campaign kicked off this morning with a tussle against Tassie at Olympic Park, Sydney. 
A clear blue sky and a moderate 22 degree forecast were near perfect conditions, perhaps a bit on the warm side with minimal breeze at ground level, for the first game of the competition. 
We started fast with good structure and slotted the first goal courtesy of a fine finish by team newcomer Iain Kirkaldy (aka Ees) within four minutes. 
Not to be outdone, veteran of multiple tournaments, Craig Emslie (aka Ems) got himself into a good position to deflect a lovely ball driven in by David Hurst to beat the keeper to take the score to 2-0, with just 10 minutes gone. 
Tassie helped us with an own goal close to the break to give us a comfortable 3-0 lead. 

Tassie came out fighting in the second half and got two opportunistic goals from longish balls through to their forwards. 
One of the plays of the day came from a drive toward the left side of the D by Ees, who turned and fired a ball to Mikey Starling on the 25 who one-timed a late cut shot to Alan Dick on the right and he made no mistake beating the keeper for a 4-2 lead. 
Tassie did not lie down and kept coming at us in the last 15 minutes. They took their few chances well on the break and managed to put two past us to squeeze out a 4-4 draw with only two minutes remaining. 

Whilst not the result we were hoping for there were plenty of positives for the rest of the week. 

Result: WA 4 – TAS 4 

Goal scorers: Kirkaldy, Emslie, Own Goal, Dick 
Man of the Match: David Hurst and Brian Siva (another ‘newbie’) were WA’s best players, displaying some fine skills throughout the game. 

WA vs WAC - Monday, September 30, 2013

Solid win today for the WA Over 40 team against the WA Country boys. 
It was another hot afternoon at the Sydney Olympic Hockey cauldron with the temp ratching up a few degress and no breeze to cool our ageing bodies.We attacked from the outset and had numerous 
shots on goal with the WAC goalie pulling off a number of saves to deny us an early lead. The first goal came from a well timed bunt from Craig Emslie, with Iain Kirkaldy picking up the assist. 
The next goal followed soon after via a corner variation, with Armo sipping one to Mikey Starling on the left who flicked it hard and high into the net to take the score to 2-0 at the break.  
The WAC goalie fainted during the break from the heat (our goalie, Cameron Robinson, managed to stay on his feet the whole game, nice one Cam!) which delayed proceedings for a bit. 
The second half saw wave after wave of attacking moves, which even saw the half backs getting in on the shooting action. Armo took a free hit 5 yards out, dummied right and went left past a block by  
Jamon Johnston to smash a low and hard tomma into the corner, sensational! Dick, Emslie and and Siva were leading the charge through the inners and slicing through the defence with ease. Emslie  
scored another late goal to take the lead to 4-0 and that was the ball game. Result: WA 4 – WAC 0 

Goal scorers: Mikey Starling, Craig Emslie (*2), Paul Armitage  
Man of the match: Brian Siva 
Cards: Yellow – Fab Crescenzi and Tim Ashford. Green – Dave Perry

WA vs ACT - Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Today's game against the ACT was a must win encounter to ensure top spot in our draw and a semi final shot on Thursday against old rival Queensland. 
The intensity from the outset was excellent as everyone knew what had to be done. The structure and passing from half backs to forwards was working to plan and creating multiple scoring opportunities  
in the first half. However, their goalie pulled off a number of excellent saves from field shots and short corners to deny our forward pack. Paul Armitage, Mikey Starling and Brian Siva controlled  
the mid field and instigated many penetrating advances.The backs - Fab Crescenzi, Dave Perry and Tim Ashford - dealtwith the relatively few attacking moves from the ACT boys with ease and kept a clean  
sheet going into the break. We knew we had to convert our chances in the second half and that's exactly what we did within a few minutes. Iain Kirkadly was carrying the ball through left inner at pace  
beat a couple of defenders and threw a well waited pass through to Jamon Johnston who weaved behind the fullback in the dee and one time a shot into the net, to open his account.  
Talking of getting off the doughnut, Stu MacDonald had a great opportunity to do just that after receiving a ball on the 25 without an ACT defender in site, walzing into the top of the dee 
with eyes bulging, he rattled throught the options of where he's going to smash the gaol, bottom left, top right, only to muff the shot. Being such a sweet striker of the ball he deserved better.  
Ems snagged a double bagger, again with ease, and is the ultimate seagul (in a good way), with lightning reflexes and a hunger for goals, rather than chips! Kirkaldy also contributed with a goal from  
variation 3C, bunt to the left, push back to the injector on the left post for a slap hit into the net for his second for the series. All in all a satisfying win. Our performance is trending in the right  
direction and we're looking like we'll peak at the right time for the two big clashes ahead. Result: WA 4 - ACT 0 

Goal scorers: Jamon Johnston, Iain Kirkaldy, Craig Emslie (*2, again!)  
Man of the match: Brian Siva (again, he's going to have excess luggage at this rate hauling all his trophies back to Perth) with Iain Kirkaldy picking up the Players Player award 
Cards: Green – Paul Armitage 

Semi-Final - WA vs XXX - Thursday, October 3, 2013

As we finished top of our division our game today was against Queensland who finshed second in their division. The boys in maroon beat us convincingly in last year's GF so we were well aware of the calibre of their players and the damage they could do. 
From the outset we had good structure, as practiced and drummed into us by coach Mikey Starling, and looked in control. We were switching it from side to side to try to find space but their whole team were flooding the defence, making it hard to penetrate the dee and create chances.Craig Emslie had a great opportunity early on, receiving the ball at the top, jinking around a defender to find himself in a one on one with the goalie. angling toward the right he waited until the goalie came out and was going down to slot the ball underneath him, only to be denied by a slight flick of the pad on the way through, which was enough to knock it off line and over the back line.  
There were a few close calls against the run of play with their best player, Smithy (ex-Australian), narrowly missing getting a defelction on a hot cross in front of goals and a couple of others bobbling around in the dee before being cleared by our desperate defenders. 
So it was 0-0 at the break with WA enjoying about 75% of the possession. We talked about maintaing our game plan and keeping composure in the second half and the results would come. Unfortunately, Queensland scored on a break, with their attacked crossing a ball from the bassline to a an attacked on the right post for an easy tap in. Despite the setback, we didn't panic and our belief in ourselves didn't falter. 
not long after we scored through short corner variation 3C again, with Mikey Starling drawing the goalie out and slipping the ball back to Iain Kirkaldy, the injector, who swatted in our first goal on the left post. 
Allan Colthart spotted a forward breaking up front and attempted an overhead to him...that almost took out the kneecap of an opposition player instead. He well and truly redeemed himself soon after though converting a powerful drag flick to the bottom right of the goals to make it 2-1. 
Our goalie, Cam Robinson, made a tremendous stick save on a short corner low left drag flick that looked like it was past him, as well as a couple of other fine stick saves. 
The third and final goal was a tap in across the line by Craig McKenzie to ensure it went in, with the excellent assist going to Stu MacDonald, who had done the hard work getting the ball past the keeper.  
WA dominated the game and at the final whistle everyone celebrated a great result. Another grand final here we come, this year against a strong NSW outfit.  
Result: WA 3 - QLD 1 

Goal scorers: Iain Kirkaldy, Allan Colthart, Craig McKenzie 
Man of the match: Paul Armitage with Tim Ashford picking up the Players Player award 
Cards: Yellow - Alan Dick, Stu MacDonald Green - David Hurst 

Second Semi-Final - WA vs XXX - Friday, October 4, 2013

Result: WA n - XXX n 

Goal scorers: 

Final WA vs XXX - Saturday, October 5, 2013

Result: WA n – XXX n 

Goal scorers: 
Cards: nil. 


WA Over 35's - 2014 Match Reports


WA vs NSW - Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bit of a slow start for WA, pace was as to be expected a little slow everyone getting used to each other and getting rid of those nerves. 
WA had an early chance missed with a stroke being saved by Tweetie the goalie.  
Commo claims he knew what he was going to do as they played against each other in juniors, sounds good anyway. 
Game was fairly even throughout the first half with WA getting a few short corners and starting to penetrate the NSW defence.  
With 5 minutes and 47 seconds left in the first half NSW scored, bugger. 

After half time WA began with more intensity as Russell Lee the coach and Adam Commens captain impressing on the guys what needed to be done to get the outcome we desired.  
Pace was much better in the second half and the game plan was coming together.  
Lucky we had a full compliment to keep those rotations working and fresh legs running.  
With 12.08 left on the clock Griffo (Mark Griffiths) scored WA's first goal.  
Then with 8.17 left on the clock Watto (Grant Watton) scored to give us the lead; this was the final score. 

WA gave Tweetie the NSW goalie best player as he certainly kept them in the game and clearly their best on the day. 
NSW awarded Watto as our best for the day. 

Result: WA 2 – NSW 1 

Goal scorers: Griffo, Watto

WA vs ACT - Sunday, September 28, 2014

Not a good one for WA today. Didn't stick to game plan and looked sometimes a little lost.  
Structures were sometimes not right and the flow of the game didn't always go as planned.  
ACT started well and the first goal for them was on the board at 28.01. 
Watto put our first on the board at 22.30 showing on the clock. 
The game was at a faster pace than yesterday and ACT scored again with the clock showing 20.22. 
Our second Commo put in from a short corner at 18.15 left. <brWith 30 seconds left WA secured a short corner, umpires let the clock wind down and then the corner took place, Russell Lee put it away. 
Half time the score did not look good ACT 5 WA 3.  
In that half our esteemed Player/Coach sat on the bench for a while with a yellow card.!! 

After half time WA started to play our game and were more positive in the game with the flow slowly turning our way. 
Unfortunately ACT were again the first to score with 30.57 on the clock and then converted another stroke at 26.20 left.  
Not looking good but WA didn't let that deter them from continuing to play a better style and look as though we could do this.  
At the 22.30 time Griffo scored our fourth, looking better and playing better.  
With the clock showing 12.31 left Thomo (Rob Thomson) scored our 5th goal. We were playing much better at this stage and tomorrow is another day. 

Result: WA 5 – ACT 7 

Goal scorers: Watto, Commo, Russell Lee, Griffo, Thommo  
Man of the match: 
Cards: Russell Lee (Yellow)

WA vs WAC - Monday, September 29, 2014

On pitch 2 the guys were looking to have a better and stronger game today. WAC proved to be a formidable opponent as was expected. The game flow was fairly even in the first half with both teams missing opportunities to score.  
Took a little time for WA to settle into their style of play.  
Once again Watto put the ball away to score the first goal with 18.25 showing on the clock.  
As it was a little warmer the rotations were being well used. 

Half Time saw everyone soaking up the fluids and just making sure all understood the game plan.  
Needed to spread a little and use the angles and flanks. 
Second half was more of the same with some really good passages of play, particularly going into the forward line. 
Had a number of short corners with multiple near misses, often the goalie picking our direction.  
With the clock showing 18.20 Jayson Eichstadt finally put one away to score his first goal for the tournament. 

The end result was a good win to WA 2-0. Unfortunately Griffo got a Green card. Overall it was a good game played in good spirits between the two teams.  

Result: WA 2 - WAC 0 

Goal scorers: Watto, Eichstadt 
Best WA player as voted by WAC: Russell Lee  
Best WAC player as voted by WA: Steve Sexton 
Cards: Griffo - Green (but they don't count Griffo so 'go for it' - Editor) 

WA vs VIC - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Well a much warmer day is expected and the fluids and rotations will be more frequent. Unfortunately Russell is on a training day for work and Favil thought the game time was 5.30 pm, consequently two down for this game. 

The game was on from the start, we need to match it with Vic the top side straight away.  
The game not as physical as the previous games and with rotations being mucked up with two down they were changing rapidly today.  
Was a fairly even start with Vic putting the ball away at the 31.50 mark. 
WA rallied playing some great hockey.  
Vic scored again with 8.43 on the clock.  
Half time 2 nil down and the boys went into the rooms to have their chat and put a few things on the whiteboard. 

Second half started fast and furious with some great passages of play, Vics again first to score at 26.50 time showing.  
WA very determined not to let this rattle them and we stuck to the game plan. Good passing spreading the play backing each other up and playing some attacking hockey.  
Commo had his fan base watching and they were loud and clear on what to do.  

Rotations fast and all were soaking up the fluid as it was a bit humid today.  
Watto once again was first to score for WA at the 18.28 mark and the Wests determination started to show.  
At that point WA started to turn the game our way with some great play making and forward thrusts.  
Looking good being in attack we got a stroke at 4.04 which Commo put away.  
WA were in attack when the game finished. 

Result: WA 2 - VIC 3 

Goal scorers: Watto, Commo 
Best VIC player as voted by WA: Jason Mulder 
Best WA player as voted by VIC: Mark Griffiths 

WA vs QLD - Thursday, October 2, 2014

WA decided they had to start from the whistle and go for it today, needed a good win to finish third.  
Only trouble is the first 20 minutes we played very ordinary hockey and not as we planned.  
Qld on the other hand were going all out to register another win.  
The guys were having to defend really well and at one stage all 11 WA players were in the defensive 25. 
Once we started spreading out and playing some hockey it was slowly turning into our game.  
Qld scored first at the 18.36 mark. We needed to pull our socks up and start to be more aggressive.  
With 2.00 minutes left on the clock Watto finally put our first in the back of the net, half time 1 all. 

After a stern chat from Russell and Commo WA went all out in the second half and began playing our style of hockey. 
Rotations working well today with a full bench. 
The goalies shared the duties and both doing well.  
Backline was really putting the pressure on with more attack.  
Once again Qld scored at the 24.26 time and then Watto scored his second to equalise.  
After some good team work and fighting hard in the circle Russell put the third in at 15.21.  
Looking like we had it we were fighting hard for this one, Qld also playing some good hockey which resulted in them scoring a third to again equalising.  
There were some great passages of play and WA spent quite a bit of time in attack in the second half.  
Starting to look like a draw and with only 1.32 left on the clock Griffo displayed some of his magic to slip past a couple and put the ball to left of the goalie and yep WA were 4 - 3 up with that being the final score.  

Much better game today. 

Result: WA 4 - QLD 3 

Goal scorers: Watto (2), Lee, Griffo 
Best QLD player as voted by WA: Scott Whittaker 
Best WA player as voted by QLD: Russell Lee  

Semi-Final 4th vs 1st - WA vs VIC - Friday, October 3, 2014

Today was do or die effort as there is no extra time for semi finals. If draw highest team goes through to grand final and that's where we want to be.  
WA applied the pressure from the start of the game, that was the plan and was working well.  
The Vics not sure how to handle the heat or our style of play. 
We had some short corners and early chances went missing. 
WA applying the pressure all over the field keeping up the pace for the first half.  
Against the flow of play the Vics put a goal in the net with only 2.59 left on the clock.  

Half time WA 1 nil down, bummer. 

The Vics were slow to get on the pitch and we lost a vital minute waiting for the goalie to get ready with the umpire making us wait for them to be ready!!  
Once the second half started WA were still playing a fast aggressive game with our rotations working well and everyone sticking to the game plan.  
There was some really nice team play, obvious the guys really were getting used to each other displaying some terrific moves.  
Some great moves forward and into the circle at the 22.33 minute mark WA awarded a stroke, Commo converted and now 1 all. 

The game was flowing at a reasonable pace and WA seem to have the Vics a little worried.  
It was a good match to watch even if a little nerve wracking.  
With WA moving the ball around and on a short corner Commo went one way then the other and finally back tomma put it away with 9.35 showing. 
Thought we could do it from here but unfortunately the Vics scored with 8.48 left to make it a draw.  
Victoria slowed things down a great deal and we couldn't get that extra goal.  
In those last few minutes we missed a couple of chances. 

Today we were two down with Pilch away coaching and Jayson injured his foot yesterday and unable to take the field today.  

A great effort as the Vics have not lost a game. Well done WA for the whole week. 

Result: WA 2 - VIC 2 

Goal scorers: Commo (2) 
Cards: Green cards to Archer (Lyle) and Russell (thankfully not yellow) 


WA Over 40's - 2005 Match Reports

WA vs QLD - Saturday 8th October

Result: WA ? - QLD ? 

WA vs VIC - Sunday 9th October

Result: WA ? - VIC ? 

WA vs SA - Tuesday 11th October

Result: WA ? - SA ? 

WA vs NSW - Wednesday 12th October

Result: WA ? - NSW ? 

WA vs ??? Semi-final

Result: WA ? - ??? ? 

WA vs ??? Final

Result: WA ? - ??? ? 


WA Over 40's - 2004 Match Reports


Our first match of this tournament was against the Queensland side who played off in last years final, so it was going to be a tough game but one which we were capable of winning. Every one was happy to get things underway especially our new group of players, John Sims, Ian Tubbs, Phillip Cain and Mark Tate. 
WA got off to a good start with the defense working well and a great ball from Noel Tremaine to birthday boy Craig Burgess who slotted it past the Queensland keeper. 
Being 1 down Queensland fired up and pressed our defense hard. A hard tackle won a penalty stroke, which they converted to bring the score level. 
Queensland continued to press hard and forced another penalty stroke thanks to a fantastic stick save from Kevin Dempster on the line that unfortunatley deflected onto his foot. 
Despite a fairly even first half Queensland went into the break with a 2-1 lead. 
The second half saw the Queenslanders maintain the pressure and we struggled to maintain our game plan. 
The defensive team played well under pressure especially in the defense of the numerous short corners and kept the Queenslanders scoreless in the second half. 
With 1 minute to go and keeping with the coach’s instruction to push hard in the last seconds we were awarded our first penalty corner for the match that gave us the chance to snatch a draw after time. Despite a well excecuted corner that beat the defense the shot was just centimeters above the backboard and we had to settle for a narrow loss. 
Martin Ferrari was awarded the best player from the Queensland side. 

WA vs WA Country

A must win game for us and as always our games against Country are torrid affairs with no love lost with our country cousins. The first half was a fairly even with a nice short corner variation that had Jimmy Miller and Noel Morrison combining to give us a 1 nil lead at the break. 
We could have stretched our lead after a bad challenge on Craig Burgess by the Country goalkeeper lead to a penalty stroke but he was able to prevent Noel Morrison converting. 
The second half was a see-sawing affair that our forward combination made the most of with three excellent goals; the first to Richard Thurtle. Noel Morrison made up for his miss with a great 2nd goal for the match with a great run and pass from Jimmy Miller. John Simms picked up the final goal to seal our win 4-0. 
Our defense had another wonderful game repelling all of Country's attacking moves and once again preventing the opposition from converting any short corners to bring home a clean sheet, a very difficult task in these tournaments. 
This was a great team win with Noel Tremayne's game plan working very well and all the team contributing well. 
Best player was awarded to Colin Tyler with Phil Cain having a good game. 
After round two WA is in 3rd position behind NSW and Vic. 


This was always going to be a tough assignment with NSW not being defeated since the 2001 tournament. This is a game that I look forward to for a chance to beat a great team and play top level hockey. 
From the start our defense was under pressure that was repelled time after time by some great team work. NSW finally broke through with a cross deep in the circle that was touched over Martin’s pads. They scored a 2nd after an over zealous tackle resulted in a Penalty stroke which Peter Huk converted. Our forwards pressed some attacks deep into NSW defense so even though we went into the break 2-0 down we were still well in the game. Our buildup on the left side was working well and we had placed their defense under pressure numerous times. 
The second half once again saw our defense under intense pressure and working well until NSW were able to convert two penalty corners; these were the first corners that we had conceded goals to in this tournament. 
Even though the game was beyond us we continued to press forward and were rewarded with two minutes to go when Richard Thurtle conveted a long ball past the NSW defense to finish the game 4-1. 
Colin Tyler again got the best player award from the opposition with Martin Ferrari winning the Play of the day. 
With this loss we are still sitting in 4th position with NSW 1st, Vic 2nd and Qld 3rd. Our fate depends on our next game against the home side Tasmania. 



WA vs ??? Semi-final


WA vs ??? Final

WA Over 40's - 2006 Match Reports

Click here for HockeyNet results 


WA vs VIC - Thursday, October 5, 2006

Expectations were high for a strong showing from the 40s Black Ducks, which failed to materialise in the first outing of the tournament on Thursday afternoon. 
The 1-2 loss to Victoria was probably a fair result, though we had plenty of chances to press for a win. Keeper Martin Ferrari was under pressure right from the start, making crucial saves and clearances after Victorian strikers managed to get behind the defensive lines. 
Some rhythm came into our play at about the 10-minute mark, with centre half Graham Reid gaining some ascendancy. A brilliant through ball found John Sims at the top of the circle and his skilful deflection did everything but go in, hitting the middle of the cross bar. Sims was working hard at left inner and centre forward and Jonathan Nordmann had plenty of play on the half line, but there was a lack of cohesion in most of the lines. 
Late in the half the ball came out awkwardly on a defensive short corner, the spin deceiving WA, with Victoria sweeping on the ball for a tidy flick and goal. 

The second half started well, with the Black Ducks lifting the tempo. Sims ruthlessly exploited a ball that found him in the left circle. With the goalie staying put, Sims stepped right, measured the shot and planted it in the top left corner. 
At 1-1 we were thinking the momentum was going the right way, but that came to an abrupt halt when a Victorian hit from a free at the right of the circle was allowed to go to the left post for a fairly soft goal. 
Sims shortly afterwards received a yellow for 5m infringements and we were on the back foot again. 
Pleasingly, however, we settled into the tempo we had set ourselves at training, which allowed us to dominate the latter part of the half. Our press was also working well, squeezing the ball into our attacking zone and causing plenty of turnovers. Reid came close with a diving scoop that went past the right post. With about seven minutes of time remaining, Michael Starling received a yellow for dissent and we were again struggling to press the advantage we had built up. 
We threw everything into attack and Sims came close in the dying stages of the match in front of the keeper. The last play of the day was an attacking short corner which we were unable to convert. 

The Black Ducks have plenty of talent and depth and lots of room for improvement, if we can lift the endeavour and increase the discipline. Not the ideal start, but lots to build on as the tournament progresses. With little time for contemplation, the tough NSW outfit facing us on Friday. 

Victoria named Alan Dick as the Black Ducks’ best player.

Result: WA 1 - VIC 2

WA vs NSW - Friday, October 6, 2006

With the feeling we had let one get away in our opening fixture against Victoria, the 40s Black Ducks came out with much greater determination and purpose against their seasoned opponents in game two. 
Our fast start led to an early goal, inside right Alan Dick making room on the right of the circle and slamming home. Unfortunately, as against Victoria, our goal was followed by a quick response from the opposition, suggesting we haven’t developed the mental resolve to press home our advantage at this point. 
But there was no denying the power and poise of NSW, who repeatedly made the locals pay for turnovers, almost inevitably finding a man in space, and threatening the goals. In rapid succession we found ourselves at the receiving end of four goals. 
Captain Blair Pedler and Grant ‘Doc’ Carville were leading from the back, doing their best to ward off repeated pressure. Inside left Stuart Amphlett was working overtime to keep Greg Johnson (Gadget) at bay, but frequent overlaps made marking extra hard. 
In the attacking circle, Chris Ahrens (Sid) came close with an intercept in the circle that had the goalie scrambling to save. Graham Reid (Poss) provided one of the match highlights with a stutter step in the circle from a ball coughed up by the defence, then pushing from behind his back, but the inventive shot went wide. 
It was again up to Alan to give us some semblance of a chance, making a strong trap from the left, taking the goalie to the top of the circle, dragging right, beating a couple of opponents, then drilling the ball in the bottom left corner from an acute angle. Pure class, and it was no surprise he was named best player for the second time by the opposition. 

Down 2-4 at the break, we felt we were in with a chance, particularly if we could get that vital first goal. It wasn’t to be, though more effective shutting down of NSW attacks meant the match was played more at our tempo. 
Michael Starling had plenty of play on the half line, but was often isolated and looking for a close lead. Poss put one in the net that was disallowed and Alan had a great chance for his hat trick in the last minute of play, but was thwarted by a defender on the line. 
It was great to see the team rising to the occasion of a big match, with the realisation of the necessary standard needed for success. It should put us in good stead for the battle with our country cousins on Sunday.

Result: WA 2 - NSW 4

WA vs WAC - Sunday, October 8, 2006

There was a sense of relief, but no great exhilaration, after our 1-0 win over WA Country. The feeling was that the match presented an opportunity to improve our goal difference significantly, which has been heightened by Tasmania’s win over Victoria. We need to find a clearer path into goal and it’s just not there at the moment. That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of chances created. But for the efforts of the Country goalie, Wombat, and his defensive group, we might well have had the five or six in the net that we were looking for. 

Country played the kind of physical game we were expecting, relying on a fast counterattack built on solid defence. Our own defence proved equal to the task, with captain Blair Pedler leading the charge and named man of the match by Country, ably supported by Grant Carville. It was Pedler who eventually found a way into goal in the second half from a solid crack to the keeper’s right from one of several short corner variations used throughout the match. Actually, this variation was more like a straight hit, with Wombat eventually succumbing to the need to second guess the many plays used. 

To their credit, Country kept us honest to the end and we found the discipline to hold our lead. But we know that we’re running out of time to string together passes in concerted, creative plays that make the path to goal more straightforward. If we can achieve that against Tasmania, expect a lot more excitement from the playing group.

Result: WA 1 - WAC 0

WA vs TAS - Monday, October 9, 2006

It was do or die against the Tassie Barbarians and a 3-1 win means the 40s Black Ducks are still afloat. Tasmania had got the jump on us with a surprise win over Victoria, so a loss or draw, with a hot Queensland outfit to come in the last qualifying round, would have made things extremely difficult. 

The performance was again built on a solid defensive effort, with Blair Pedler and Grant Carville ensuring few balls were allowed to penetrate our circle, while Tasmania’s choice for man of the match Michael Starling, Graham Reid, Kevin Dempster and Jonathan Nordmann worked effectively in midfield. 

The difference in this encounter was our ability to create meaningful attacks that capitalised on our defensive effort. Nevertheless, it took the class of Alan Dick to give us the score sheet ascendancy in the last 20 seconds of the half. He pounced on a ball that rebounded from a defender in the circle and adjusted to cleanly strike close to his body. 

We knew we were a better outfit on the day, yet still experienced our characteristic yips after scoring, conceding a short corner goal early in the second half. 
But with WA’s forwards allowing few options out of the Tasmanian defence, pressure started to tell. Greg Pampling put us ahead again, with a reverse squeeze from a short corner rebound that shaved the top left post. (The reporter would risk a fine if he were to suggest it was a pretty good goal, as Pamps is the fine master and doesn’t like players sucking up, so I won’t.) 

Chris Ahrens was rewarded for some aggressive work in the circle for his first goal of the tournament shortly after. 

John Sims, Noel Morrison, Tim Reynolds and Mark Hastings all had reasonable opportunities in the circle in the latter stages of the match. 

An extra goal or two would have provided a welcome goal difference cushion heading into the Queensland match, but everyone breathed a sigh of relief that we had put in the right performance at the right time. No surprise that the drinks in the tent tasted a lot better after this one.

Result: WA 3 - TAS 1

WA vs QLD - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Although we had a reasonable cushion over Tasmania to secure fourth spot in our last qualifying match, a strong game was vital for us. For a start, we had two ex-Queenslanders in the side, so pride was at stake. Greg Pampling and Graham Reid grew up playing hockey together. Graham went on to fame, though no fortune, playing for Australia, while Pamps left both the fame and fortune to his PGA tour playing (and twice winning) brother, Rod (he’s a very talented fines master, it must be said). 
We also had two wins behind us after losing the first two, so momentum heading into the finals was important. 

With Queensland using a hard running style with plenty of through balls and fast breaks, coach Noel Morrison said the match was all about structure. By sticking to our tasks, we would shut down their lines and deny them the oxygen they need to make their style work. 

We started hard and fast, with Poss Reid clearly pumped for the encounter, and the Maroons looking slightly ragged. Poss found Noel clear at the top left of the circle, who coolly bunted the ball into the right corner – in the first 40 seconds of the game. 
We weren’t expecting our plans to come to fruition quite so quickly, but we also knew that in previous matches we had been most vulnerable just after scoring ourselves. 
But it was a different paddle of Ducks this time. We continued to pepper the goals, with John Sims lively at centre forward and Pamps bringing the best out of the Queensland keeper with a thundering reverse stick shot. 

The visitors started to get the odd break, with captain Blair Pedler forced to make remarkable clutch saves on the line from full blooded shots. Man of the match WA keeper Martin Ferrari was doing everything he could to repel attacks and organise his defenders. 

With three minutes left in the half, Stuart Amphlett decided to make a small but rather obvious tribute to the Socceroos match against Bahrain later in the day, and was duly yellow carded for five minutes. With great purpose, we held the opposition at bay to go into the break with a 1-0 lead. 

Ferrari was forced to make a greater number of saves in the second half, and like a well-oiled machine, he proved equal to the task, getting into excellent position for clearance after clearance. But Queensland’s forward potency eventually told and we were back at 1-1, still with plenty of time to win or capitulate. 

Again we started dominating, getting in front of their forwards and stringing together passes to deny them possession and flow. After a number of short corner attempts, trapper Poss eventually decided it was his turn to have a crack. He found plenty of space and hit the ball with tremendous pace, but it appeared to be hurtling into a distant car park. However, one of his mates from his home state appeared to take pity on him, going to great lengths to deflect the ball into the net. 

We just needed to get through the last three minutes and completed a famous victory against a side looking to top the table. We have a big task against ladder leaders NSW in the semi-finals, but it looks like we’ve broken through, with team work and intensity improving with every encounter. We reckon we’ll be more than competitive.

Result: WA 2 - QLD 1

Semi-final WA vs NSW - Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th turned out to be Black and Gold Friday for the Over 40 Black Ducks, with a 3-1 win over arch-nemesis NSW taking the team into Saturday’s final against Queensland. 
There don’t seem to be many historical records of wins over the Blues, though there have been plenty of thumpings over the years, so it was an extra sweet victory. The game was played on WA’s terms, with NSW denied easy ball into their forward line. The Blues appeared slightly fatigued, often hanging off in the hope of easy turnovers to restart their own plays. 
Crucially, the first goal was ours, with left wing Chris Ahrens picking up a pinpoint pass from the back line at the 25, penetrating the circle and managing to squeeze a hit past the keeper. 
We dominated the middle part of the half with solid defence and plenty of passing, creating attacking plays, particularly from the right side. Eventually the pressure told, with striker John Sims picking up a loose ball from close range and instinctively flicking into the left corner. At 2-0 with a couple of minutes to play, we looked assured of a handy cushion at half time, but a short corner was conceded and NSW used a clever variation to get one back after the half time siren. 

The Blacks were a bit deflated to have the lead reduced so close to the buzzer, but quickly regrouped. The second half was essentially one in which we continued to deny easy outlets, though NSW threw everything at us and had their share of penalty corners, while we only managed one for the entire game. 
Mark Hastings put the game beyond doubt in the closing minutes, loping down the back line towards the goals from the right, then fooling the keeper by fading inside and making a reverse stick shot look fairly straightforward. 
The importance of that goal was emphasised when NSW again had a short corner on the siren. While we managed to ward them off, the situation would have been much more fraught at 2-1, as NSW only needed to draw to qualify for the grand final. 

With a win in the round robin over Queensland, we know the job required, but realise they will be buoyed by their strong showing over Victoria in the semi-final. 
Four wins on the trot after losing the first two matches of the tournament is a great achievement, but the players realise Saturday represents a massive opportunity to wrest the title on home turf. 
It’s unlikely there will be many surprises in our game plan. We’ve established a solid structure and have made the most of chances. The grand final has all the makings of a top game. 

Result: WA 3 – NSW 1

Final - WA vs QLD - Saturday, October 14, 2006

It is easy to state but hard to accept. We lost. 

We lost 1-2 to a better, more organised and committed Queensland side on the day. 
Those are the facts, but it hardly makes their reality any more palatable. 
Does anything ameliorate the bitter sensation of losing at the last hurdle in front of a home crowd, on a day when four out of five WA sides won titles? 
Let’s see… We started the tournament with two losses. When we crept over the line 1-0 against WAC, where others had given them sound beatings, we hardly looked a grand final side. 
We showed plenty of endeavour to work ourselves into championship contention. There is little doubt we showed character in turning our tournament around. We showed pride in our State and belief in ourselves and each other. 
A tournament is a series of transformations and possibilities. Games ebb and flow, injuries take their toll, form arrives like a snap storm and dries up just as quickly. If you can’t roll with it, hang in there, continue to see glimmers of hope, you are lost. 
It’s a tribute to our group that they understood this deep truth about the trajectory of a sporting contest. 
What was the trajectory of the final game? Queensland started strong and tough, carrying on the form they’d shown in the semi-final against Victoria. Fairly quickly they were cutting through our lines, causing all sorts of problems at the back and destabilising our forward thrust. 
Their constant attacks eventually saw a sharp cross from the right wing intercepted by player of the tournament Ashley Grummitt at the top of the circle, who slammed the ball high into the net. 
After half time we conceded a penalty stroke after another fast break involving Grummitt, who calmly slotted the goal (Martin Ferrari will tell you he wasn’t given time to prepare for the stroke). 
But we were playing more creatively and positively and the ever reliable Alan Dick showed great control and temperament to penetrate the circle and shoot low past the keeper in heavy traffic to reduce the lead with plenty of time for the two goals we needed for the title. 
But we only managed one penalty corner for the half and the match and just couldn’t find another way in after that. 

So, an honour roll, in no particular order. 
To Noel, for professional and passionate coaching. Your preparation and consistent approach gave us the opportunity to succeed. 
To Astrid for the myriad managerial tasks that gave us the chance to concentrate on the job at hand on the field, with the able support of Jimmy. 
To Poss Reid, named by the team as their best player. Having someone of your experience and quality, so willing to share their knowledge, was invaluable for all. 
To Alan Dick, for coming into the side at short notice and finishing runner-up in the count. 
To all those who trialled and pushed for spots in the team. 
To the over 45s for the match practice and setting the standard that took them to the title. 
Captain Blair Pedler for leadership and having a bloody nice boat. 
To Martin Ferrari and Kevin Dempster for making the over 45s Australian side. 
Commiserations to Darran Wilson, denied a start in the tournament by injury. 
Personally, as a junior senior, I would like to thank each and every player for the support and camaraderie throughout, from the very first trial at whatever godforsaken time of the morning we turned up, to the drinks in the tent at the end of the tournament. I’m probably not the only one who learnt more from this experience than I can remember from umpteen years in the game. The example and advice from this outstanding group of individuals will resonate for years to come. 
Speaking of which, next year’s tournament is on the Gold Coast. We lost this one, but surely this result gives us more than a glimmer of hope of taking the title next year. Yep, becoming national champions in Queensland in 2007. We’ll leave on that upbeat note. It’s a little way off, but in the scheme of things for a veteran, only a few games of hockey away.

Result: WA 1 - QLD 2