Semis take over CQHL

Toby Milner brings the ball down after it flicked up from a challenge.

By Liam Emerton

The Central Queensland Hockey League is all set for its grand finals next weekend after four brutal semi-final clashes played out on Saturday.

In the men’s competition, the Wanderers and Meteors will write another chapter in their elite hockey rivalry when they collide next Saturday.

The Wanderers overcame a very game Park Avenue, beating them 9-2 on Saturday night in Gladstone.

Todd Harmsworth clutched up in a big game by scoring three goals in the semi-final.

He was joined on the scoresheet by Jai Cass (2), Cooper Johnson (1), Duncan Mahony (1) and Clinton Mckay (2).

That made Wanderers the final men’s team in the grand final as the Meteors and Southern Suburbs played out a classic in the match before.

Southern Suburbs took the lead in that semi-final when an own goal broke the deadlock five minutes in.

But a few minutes later, a terrific lofting ball over the top by Mitch Ryan found an on-rushing Lachlan Ryanmore who buried his chance to tie proceedings up.

The score would remain locked until halfway through the second quarter when the Meteors would take the lead.

The Gladstone-based squad earned a penalty corner which was stopped with a brilliant save by goalkeeper Matthew Olive who pushed the ball out for a corner.

However, off that subsequent regular corner, the Meteors’ Mitch Ryan produced a beautiful reverse flick that found the back of the net, handing Meteors the 2-1 advantage.

And on the stroke of half time the home squad would double their lead when Ryan finished the chance to score his second of the match.

That goal made the score 3-1 as the half-time hooter sounded, leaving Southern Suburbs in need of a strong come-from-behind victory.

But just three minutes into the third stanza the Meteors struck for their fourth consecutive goal which came from a penalty corner, completing Ryan’s hattrick as the scoreboard read 4-1.

SS looked to be sinking but a great diving goal from Nathan Doble brought the match back to a two-goal deficit.

With just a second left on the clock, a Southern Suburbs’ penalty corner became a penalty stroke which was converted by Brock Christensen, bringing the score back to just one goal.

So with the entire fourth quarter to play, the Rocky side continued hammering away at the Meteors’ defence.

However it remained solid and with SS unable to break the fourth-period deadlock, the Meteors snuck home with a fourth-quarter victory.

That placed the Meteors into the grand final where they found out later that night they will have a chance at revenge against the Wanderers.

In the women’s competition, the Wanderers and Meteors played out what was also an instant-classic.

It finished 2-2 with Toni Chirio and Amy Woods scoring for the Rockhampton side, and Sue Rayner as well as Kellie Pagel finding the back of the net for the Gladstone squad.

Because of the standings, the Wanderers progressed to the grand final despite the draw, although extra time and penalties would have been a treat for those watching.

The Wanderers will have to contest with the table-topping Southern Suburbs who ended Sparks’ hopes with a 5-2 victory.

Shareena Bouna and Alexandra Buckley scored three and two goals respectively to progress the minor premiers into the big dance.

The Wanderers and Southern Suburbs finished within a win of each other on the women’s CQHL table meaning their grand final next weekend will be a flip of the coin.