Hockey | Magpies gutsy defence holds firm to deny fightback

MAGPIES survived a spirited fightback on Sunday to earn their spot in the preliminary final of Hockey Albury Wodonga women’s competition.

The Pies gave up a 2-0 lead against United before hitting the front 3-2 with 15 minutes still on the clock.

Coach Janine Anderson said it was backs to the wall defence at the death.

“We really just had to defend in those final 15 minutes,” she said.

“The sudden break into finals’ weather meant both teams were fatigued, it seemed about 10 degrees hotter than we have been playing in all winter.

“But Dimity Sedgwick had an absolute blinder on the wing, Katy Smithwick stood out again and Erin McNair was also a standout at centre half.

“It was a good test in the heat and the girls really gritted their teeth.”

Magpies will head into another knockout final against Norths this Sunday at the Albury Hockey Centre.

The pair shared the spoils this year — Norths beating the Pies convincingly, losing to them 3-0 and having a draw.

“They went into last year’s grand final as the favourites and have Nan Latta,” Anderson said.

“They also have some quality juniors on the rise — Emerald Beath and Jamie Plas — and we can’t afford to let them have too much time on the ball.”

In division 1 men’s, United cruised into the grand final with a 4-0 win over Wodonga.

The Bulldogs will play defending premiers Wombats in the preliminary final.