Men’s 3rd Grade v Briars – 10 April 2021 at Cintra Park, Concord

Result: Glebe 8 beat Briars 2

Half-time: Glebe 3 – Briars 0

Penalty corners: Glebe 4 (1 goal), Briars 4 (1 goal)

Penalty strokes: Glebe 1 (I goal)

Scorers for Glebe: Tony Wark 1, Jackson Howe 1, Michael Wark 6


Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Andrew Cheong, Craig Martin, Michael Wark, Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Jacob Warnock (GK), Jackson Howe, Matt Wilson, Zane Goodrick, Al Cullen, Aaron Gough, Pat Wark. Unavailable player Adam Campano


Pre-match prediction: Briars beat us by a couple of goals in our only pre-season trial game, so on this result Briars should probably be favourites to win this game. Although today’s team is a stronger combination than the one we fielded in the Briar’s trial.

We played well in our first-round game of the season before Easter, and hopefully this form will continue into today’s game.  We have lost Luke Pollock to second grade but have picked up ex-first grader Al Cullen and the team will not be disadvantaged from these changes. Under-17 Zane Goodrick is having his first game in third-grade today, as is Aaron Gough, but I am sure these two newbies will be fully supported by the senior players in the team. Aaron is an experiences player from Western Australia.

Briars had a bye in the first round of the competition and this game today will be their first match of the season. I have no prior Briars’ performances to guide my pre-match assessment. All things considered I am predicting a close game today, perhaps ending in a 1-1 draw.


Match Report

The game was played under a blue sky, temperature at 24° and with very little wind. It was warm, energy sapping weather for hockey.

Briars started strongly and spent much of the first 6 minutes inside the Glebe 22 metres area. Glebe were struggling to hang on, but tackled strongly, read the game well, scrambled with energy and enthusiasm and kept Briars from scoring. Briars had a couple of dangerous forays into the Glebe circle, but the Glebe defence gave them little room to line-up their shots at goal.

Six minutes into the game, against the run of play, Tony Wark won the ball 15 metres inside the Glebe half and ran forward at pace, before passing to Al Cullen, who continued the forward momentum before passing the ball to Michael Wark 3 metres from the Briars backline 5 metres from the Briars’ right hand goal post. Michael managed to squeeze the ball past the advancing Briars goal keeper into the goal. Glebe 1 Briars 0

This first Glebe goal was the tonic Glebe needed and the team started to string passes together. The ball was passed at pace and the full width of the field was used. Al Cullen, Matt Wilson and Andrew Cheong in the middle of the field were starting to dominate and Briars found it hard to work its way through the Glebe mid-field.

Craig Martin, Chris Farrugia and Aaron Gough at the back stopped the ball cleanly and did the simple things well, nothing fancy. They tackled early and often, delivered the early ball when they could and kept their passes wide. Keeping the ball wide opened up space for the Glebe forwards Paul Jowett, Michael and Tony Wark and Jackson Howe in the middle of the field.

At the 13-minute mark a Briars forward intercepted a Glebe pass out of defence and pushed the ball into the Glebe circle. Glebe goal keeper Jacob Warnock sensed the danger and sprinted from his goal towards the ball. Jacob cleared the ball towards the sideline and a dangerous Briars raid was stopped. It was a good piece of goalkeeping.

Zane Goodrich, Sam Bagley and Pat Wark as wing halves were solid, reliable and gave nothing away. Their quick delivery of the ball from defence often gave the forwards time to get the ball under control, and get up to operating speed before they engaged with the Briars defence. When at full speed and going forward in numbers the Glebe forwards seemed to have a lot of passing options in attack.

This free-flowing attacking hockey was causing problems for the Briars defence, the Briars fullbacks were skilful players and did not make it easy for Glebe. Briars most looked like scoring when they broke quickly from defence and attacked down the sidelines at pace.

At the end of the first quarter the score was Glebe 1 Briars 0. In the first quarter Briars had 55-60% of the territory, with the dangerous shots on goal being evenly shared. The first quarter was even-stevens.

A minute into the second quarter Glebe won a turn-over 5 metres inside their own half. Paul Jowett ran 10 metres with the ball before passing to Michael Wark in the inside right alley. Michael ran into the circle drew the Briars keeper, before passing the ball across the face of the goal to Tony Wark who scored from a diving tap-in. Glebe 2 Briars 0. This was a great start to the second quarter for Glebe.

After Glebe’s goal Briars came back strongly. They were a skilful team who could string passes together, but could not unlock the well-organized Glebe defence despite their best efforts. Zane Goodrich, for his first game in third grade, settled in well and looked confident.

Midway through the second quarter a Briars forward cut off an ill-advised Glebe square pass out of defence and bolted towards the Glebe circle. The Glebe goal keeper Jacob Warnock came out to engage the Briars forward at the top of the circle and pushed the Briars forward wide. The Briars forward pushed the ball towards the Glebe goal and it would have gone into the goal except that Pat Wark racing back in cover defence managed to keep the ball out. A certain goal saved.

Briars continued to apply pressure and won a won a penalty corner after 11 minutes of the second quarter.  Jacob Warnock made a good save from the Briars direct shot at goal.

With 2 minutes remaining in the second quarter Glebe won a penalty corner after a scramble in the Briars circle. From the corner stop Al Cullen pushed the ball at the Briars left goal post for Andrew Cheong to deflect towards the goal. The ball was going into the Briars net, but it hit a Briars defender on the leg. A penalty stroke was awarded to Glebe, which was converted by Michael Wark. Glebe 3 Briars 0.

Pat Wark, Al Cullen and Aaron Gough were having their first run of the season and at timed found the going a bit tough, but they ploughed on none-the-less. Aaron Gough was having his first game in four years and his thigh muscles were creaking under the strain, but his basic skills were undiminished and his distribution skills were excellent.

The score at half-time was Glebe 3 Briars 0.  I though that Briars had a 12 to 1 chance of coming back from this score to win the game. Briars had ability but just could not get any cadence happening. Briars had a good penalty corner combination and I felt if Briars were to fight their way back into the game it was going to be via converting penalty corners.

Two minutes into the third quarter Zane Goodrich ran at pace with the ball on his stick from half-way, 4 metres in from the left-hand sideline, before delivering a nicely weighted pass to Tony Wark on the left wing 10 metres ahead. Tony ran 10 metres up into the left-hand pocket before quickly crossing the ball to Michael Wark who slapped the ball into the Briars net from 4 metres out. Glebe 4 Briars 0

This Glebe goal spurred Briars into action and they had several good shots at the Glebe goal that were well saved by Jacob Warnock. The Briar’s forwards were always under pressure when they shot at goal, which prevented them from striking the ball with maximum impact. At times the Glebe defenders looked to pass the ball 40 metres backwards, which in my opinion is a poor tactic, as it unnecessarily puts the ball receiver under pressure.

Midway through the third quarter Paul Jowett won a ball on the half-way line passed it to Tony Wark down the right wing. Tony passed the ball across the Briars goalmouth to be deflected in by Michael Wark. Glebe 5 Briars 0. It was unlikely that Briars could come back from here, but they were still competing strongly and trying hard.

With six minutes remaining in the quarter a Briars half situated on the Glebe 22 metres line hit the ball towards the Glebe goal. It took a deflection off one Glebe player’s stick, then another Glebe player’s stick and lobbed high into the air a few metres out from the Glebe goal mouth. A Briars forward hit the ball from a metre and a half above his head into the Glebe goal, more like a tennis shot than a hockey shot. Glebe 5 Briars 1.

Briars were picking up steam and made several raids into the Glebe circle and had 3 or 4 shots on goal. The last shot on goal Jacob Warnock cleared high through the circle and Briars were awarded a penalty corner. From the corner battery the Briars penalty corner pusher sent the ball fast just inside the Glebe right hand goal post for the goal. Glebe 5 Briars 2.

With 30 seconds left in the third quarter Briars won another penalty corner. Jacob Warnock saved the initial shot after the whistle had blown for the end of the quarter. The ball rebounded into the circle and a dangerous scramble ensued before the ball eventually hit a Briars foot and the third quarter was over. A goal at this point would have brought Briars back into the game, but the dogged Glebe defence held strong. Glebe 5 Briars 2 was the score at the end of the third quarter.

Briars had to throw caution to the wind if they were to pull the game out of the fire and they attacked strongly in the first minutes of the fourth quarter. Briars were awarded their fourth penalty corner 4 minutes into the fourth quarter, after the ball hit a Glebe fullback’s foot inside the circle.

A couple of minutes later the Glebe counterattacking machine burst into action from deep inside the Glebe half. Matthew Wilson and Al Cullen were involved in mid-field before finding Tony Wark out wide on the left wing. Tony sprinted down the sideline before finding Michael Wark in front of the Briars goal. Michael made no mistake from the 6 metres spot. Glebe 6 Briars 2.

Briars, in trying to attack, left themselves short at the back and opened themselves up to fast counterattacks. Jackson Howe scored his second goal of the season after a good run and a passing movement from 40 metres out. It was a polished team goal, enabled by excellent running and first time passing. Glebe 7 Briars 2.

With a minute to play Michael Wark scored his sixth goal of the game after a solo run from 40 metres out from the Briars’ gaol. Glebe 8 Briars 2, which was the final score.

The score flattered Glebe although we were clearly the superior team. A 5-2 result would have been about right, but we had one of those afternoons where everything went right for us.

The new team members fitted into the team structure well and played with confidence. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. The nous of the team is one of its features. The team’s option taking was good today and it was an impressive team effort, with very few hero runs and one-out options. All but one of the eight goals were well-crafted team efforts, often the initiation of the goals stemmed from good vision by the fullbacks and the halves.

Congratulations Glebe third grade on a good win.

Our next game is against Northern Districts, to be played at Pennant Hills 1, 1230 hours on 17 April 2021.