Tamworth’s open women turned around a three goal defeat to put a bronze polish on their best NSW Country Clubs Championship showing for over a decade.
Beaten 4-1 by the Albury Sharks in their opening game at Newcastle, the Ross White-coached side pipped the Sharks 3-2 to finish third.
It’s the first time Tamworth has fielded a side in the tournament for a number of years as it usually clashes with the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and first time Tamworth has medalled at the championships for a long time.
Capping off a tremendous weekend, captain Libby Magann was named in the Tournament 7.
Tamworth lost only one other game during the pool stages beating the Gosford Lobsters, Raymond Terrace and the Woy Woy Wombats. The latter was a must win to ensure a spot in the semi-finals.
Despite being their fifth game in two days, Tamworth was still able to play an aggressive and controlled game, goals from Katie Robinson and Bianca Watson coming at ideal times as they edged out the Wombats 6-5.
After going down to semi-final opponents Central Newcastle in their pool game, Tamworth played a solid team game in the semi-final but failed to convert all their opportunities at critical points in the match.
Again goalkeeper Lara Taggart kept them within striking distance as their title hopes were ended 6-4.
The Sharks went into the bronze play-off with a point to prove after finishing first only to be upset by Raymond Terrace in their semi-final.
Magann put Tamworth in front with a 5m penalty, a stellar outside shot from Lucy Hofman and extra man goal from Morgan Rowbottom at crucial times in the second and third quarters seeing them hold the advantage going into the final quarter.
“Our players communicated well with each other in the water to mark Sharks standout Leah Dodd.
“While we didn’t convert all our opportunities, the girls were very disciplined in attack and were able to control the ball in a nail-biting game and scoreless final quarter to walk away with the bronze medal,” Magann said.
Praising the side for the effort they put into training before the tournament and during the games, Magann said their success was built on a strong defensive game. Employing a zone defence, Tamworth consistently frustrated their opponents as they were unable to break their defence down.
Reinforcing the defensive display was 16-year-old goalkeeper Taggart who was outstanding in their critical round games against Central Newcastle and Raymond Terrace. Giaan White and Lucy Hofman were also pivotal in their attack and defence, while Magann led the attack with strong support from left-hander Nelli Jackson and Rowbottom.
Billie Mitchell’s Raymond Terrace went on to win the gold in a penalty shoot-out.
The team was: Lara Taggart, Lucy Hofman, Kate Mackay, Libby Magann, Giaan White, Katherine Grellman, Bianca Watson, Grace Gerathy, Katie Robinson, Nelli Jackson, Kate Farquhar, Morgan Rowbottom, Jorja Irwin.