Teen star Sparks her side to grand final glory
HOCKEY: A three-goal effort by Macauley Ash was helpful but Sparks coach Alex Jeynes says it was a team performance which got his side over the line in the A1 Women's final on Saturday night.
Sparks sprung an upset in the decider by beating a Meteors side similar to the one that lost the CQ Hockey League decider to Rockhampton's Southern Suburbs last month.
"They all played exceptionally well - it was a fantastic team effort," Jeynes said of the 4-1 victory.
Sparks were dominant throughout the contest and opened up a 4-0 lead before Meteors scored a consolation through Sue Rayner.
Jaynae Josefski opened the scoring in the ninth minute before Ash scored her hat-trick with goals in the 13th, 32nd and 36th minute to hand Sparks a comfortable buffer.
"She (Ash) was hot and cold throughout the year but come finals time she really stepped up," Jeynes said.
"She's only 17 so as a young girl to step up in those finals... it's probably been the best games I've seen her play all season."
Sparks almost missed out on the final and had to rely on two late goals to seal a thrilling 4-3 preliminary final win against Souths last weekend.
Despite just scraping into the decider, Jeynes remained confident heading into the game.
"The girls definitely had it in them. That's about the fifth time we've fielded that line-up and every time we've fielded that team we've won," he said.
"We've been riddled with injuries all season but when we get a full-strength team on the park we win.
"Meteors have won the past few years so it was great to finally see someone else on top."
Hockey grand final results
A1: Meteors 4 def Sparks 1 (Men), Sparks 4 def Meteors 1 (Women)
A2: Meteors 3* def Sparks 1 (Men), Sparks 2* def Souths 1 (Women)
A3: Souths 3 def Yaralla 1 (Women)
Juniors: Meteors Scorchers 5* def Souths 2 (U16 Mixed), Meteors 3 def Sparks 0 (U14 Mixed), Sparks 1 drew Souths 1 (U12 Mixed - joint winners 1-1 full-time after 10 minutes extra time)
NOTE: * donates win after penalty shootout.