The Sharks just managed to get home against a gallant Mariners crew, in an exciting game at the Frensham Centenary Pool on Monday evening.
Sharks have stamped themselves as the team to beat, with some judges declaring the premiership theirs with less than a month of the season left. Mariners made those judges have to reappraise, as they pushed Sharks to the limit. The first quarter was locked up at 1-1, as the game flowed from end to end.
Photos: Sport over the Highlands
Sharks Jason Nicholas scored first after less than a minute before Mariners Campbell Wakeling scored the equaliser after four minutes. The second period was the decisive period of the match, the Sharks attack was focussed, as they took the period 3-1.
Sharks scoring machine Emma Maddox hit her straps with a double and the powerful shot of Jason Nicholas gave the Sharks a two goal buffer going into half time. Alex Te-Ame’ was Mariners scorer. Mariners came out after the break with a course plotted to get them back into the match.
They rattled the Sharks, as their two goal lead disappeared off the scoring arm of Jason Sellers, while Mariners also kept a tight ship in defence keeping the Sharks scoreless.
With the scores locked at 4-4 going into the final period it made for an exciting scenario. Sharks came back out to reclaim the water with the first two goals and re-establish a buffer zone after a third Jason Nicholas goal and one to Gabby Butcher. Alexandra McCue got the Mariners back on course with a minute on the clock to set up a dramatic finish but the Sharks defence held on to give them the win.
The Dolphins were too slick for the Polar Bears as, they defeated Polar Bears 9-3.
The Dolphins win was never in doubt, despite some positive periods of play from the Polar Bears. They took the first two periods by two goals in each quarter to build a 4-0, halftime lead, as Ben and Hal Canute had scored in the first and Daniel Barnes chimed in with a double in the second.
Polar Bears put in a good third period, scoring 3 goals, two to Scott McClean and one to Karl Nurse. They matched the Dolphins 3, another one to Ben Canute while Daniel Barnes scored another two.
The luckless Polar Bears lost Marco Basaglia through injury and were forced to play a player down for most of the last period and did well to restrict Dolphins to two goals.
Ben Canute scored again along with Daniel Barnes for the final 9-3 score line.
In B grade there were some good matches, the competition leaders Horton’s Heroes scraped home against a determined Mariners side 5-4.
It is a mark of how much teams have improved in this competition, that scores have narrowed against Horton’s Heroes, who themselves continue to play well. Horton’s Heroes took a 2-1 lead into the first break, after goals to Noah Ford and Tom Sargood, Alexandra McCue scored for Mariners.
The complexion of the match changed in the second quarter, as Mariners sailed to the lead with Sean Andrews and William Docherty goals, while their defence kept Horton’s Heroes scoreless, a rare feat in this competition.
The third period was even with a goal each, William Docherty scoring for Mariners and Tom Sargood scoring for Horton’s Heroes. With Mariners leading 4-3 going into the last period Horton’s Heroes had to dig deep, which is just what they did, to sink the Mariners with a minute left on the clock.
Sam Maray and Austin Lockhart delivered the winning goals and allow Horton’s Heroes to escape the Mariners net with a 5-4 win.
Oxley Gold and Oxley Blue had a very close encounter, as Gold 5 defeated Blue 4. Oxley Gold got out to a 2-0 lead at the first break through goals to Ellie Connell and Bronte Smith.
Oxley Blue came back with a 2-1 second quarter, thanks to scoring shots from Treahy Finn and Jade Gillis, Gold’s scorer was Phillippa Kettlewell. Gold leading 3-2 at the main break wasn’t an indication of the closeness of the game.
The defence and attack of both these teams has improved immensely and a draw would have been the best result. The two second half quarters were 1-1 for the final 5-4 result.
Jock Heinrich and Phillippa Kettlewell scored in the second half for Oxley Gold and Ben Morton and Treahy Finn for Oxley Blue.
The Polar Bears B found Dolphins B too slick on the night, as they ran out winners 9-3. They bounded away to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter after a double by Hamish Barber and a goal to Hal Canute.
Polar Bears steadied with a 1-0 second period after Lauren Cameron scored. The Dolphins took the third period 2-1 after Hamish Barber scored again along with Hamish Ta-me’ and Luc Puchert scored for Polar Bears.
Dolphins finished off as they started with three goals, Christian Gallina, Stephen Dunn and Hamish Barber scoring for Dolphins and Andrew Basaglia scoring for the Polar Bears for the final 9-3 score.