TAHLIA Rekunow’s first-half strike proved enough for Joe Maguires Waratahs to snatch a berth in the Tamworth women’s first grade preliminary final.
Rekunow’s goal finished up the difference in Sunday’s minor semi-final, with Waratahs edging Services out 1-nil.
They had to had to dig deep to hold on though, with Services finishing strongly.
They had the better of the last five to ten minutes and had a few late chances.
With just over a minute to go, Tracy Donnelly hit a great ball into the circle that went into the goal but no-one got a touch on it.
Then with about 10 seconds to go, they missed an almost open goal after the Waratahs keeper came out to try to defuse the play.
Waratahs deserved the win. They played some great hockey in the first half.
“The first half was the best I’ve seen them play this year,” Waratahs coach Greg Doolan said.
They rarely turned the ball over and played smartly.
His only criticism was that they should have put Servies away.
“We should have been more than one-up at half-time,” he said.
“We didn’t take our opportunities.”
They had more than their share.
“We weren’t smart enough in the circle,” Doolan said.
It almost came back to bite them as they clung to their one-goal lead.
He didn’t think they played anywhere near as well in the second half but they gutsed it out.
“We scrambled in defence quite well,” he said.
“I thought we closed down their midfield quite well but we weren’t smart enough when we had the ball.”
They kept on turning it over to them and weren’t getting to the areas they spoke about that they wanted to get to.
“They kept us bogged down off our defensive errors,” he said.
That last period of the game was some of the best hockey Services played.
“I think we were a step behind a lot of the game,” a disappointed coach Kimmy Hill said.
“The last 5-10 we had the right intensity. We just needed that earlier.”
Their passing game was one area they fell down in.
“We needed to let the ball do the work rather than us running it,” Hill said.
Especially in the heat.
She said they were a bit too direct, which made it easier for Waratahs to pick them off.
Michelle Collins again kept them in the game and pulled off some great saves.
Bree Curry also played well, Hill said.