Hosts face huge task at hockey championships 

Victoria’s men’s and women’s hockey teams must win their final two matches to have the best chance of qualifying for Saturday’s semi-finals at the Australian Country Championships.

Both teams remain without a victory after three rounds of the tournament at Bendigo’s Ashley Street complex.

Victoria’s women conceded a second-half goal to South Australia yesterday to lose 1-0, while the men’s side played its worst match so far in a 2-0 loss.

The women’s team is yet to score in its three games and faces a battle to earn a place in the semi-finals.

“I thought against Queensland we played well and they got a lucky one, a fairer result was probably a draw and even today a fairer result was a draw,” coach Warren Harding said.

“We were outplayed by New South Wales (5-0) – they were just too good, well-drilled and we just couldn’t match it with them.

“We’re just struggling to get on the scoreboard, which obviously means you can’t win matches.

“I think we can still get to fourth depending on some results, that’s what our aim is, obviously.”

Strathdale Tigers goalkeeper Courtney Waterson has been a standout performer for the Victorian women.

Waterson has only conceded two goals in two games and did not play in the 5-0 loss to New South Wales.

“She couldn’t do much about (today’s goal) and the first (goal) bobbled over her. She’s been keeping really well actually,” Harding said.

Victoria’s men’s coach Ian Ritchie described his team’s loss to South Australia as “disastrous”.

After competitive performances against powerhouse teams Queensland and NSW, the Victorian men had a letdown yesterday.

“It was our worst performance by far,” Ritchie said. “We weren’t in it from the beginning and we weren’t in it at the end.

“It was a disappointing effort.

“They scored early, that’s three times we’ve been scored against early and that puts you on the back foot. It was 1-0 until about 10 minutes to go, but we lacked penetration today.

“You would think third’s (place) gone. We’ve got to win our next two and we could still fall into fourth on percentage.”

In other matches yesterday, NSW’s men scored a second-half winner to defeat the ADF 3-2 to make it three wins from as many games.

While the ADF’s women levelled the scores 1-1 in the second half of its game versus NSW.

Western Australia’s men produced an upset 1-0 win against Queensland, while WA’s women scored in the dying minutes to defeat Queensland 2-1.

Men’s ladder – Western Australia 9 points, +16 GD; New South Wales 9 points, +4GD; Queensland 6 points, +5GD; South Australia 3 points, -7GD; Victoria 0 points, -5GD; Australian Defence Force 0 points, -15GD.

Women’s ladder: Western Australia 9 points, +7GD; New South Wales 7 points, +6GD; Queensland 6 points, +1GD; South Australia 3 points, -5GD; Australian Defence Force 1 point, -2GD; Victoria 0 points, -7GD.

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