Mataura lift game to seal win

Spirited second-half performances by Riversdale and Mataura saw both teams notch victories in the final regular season round of Southland premier grade women's hockey over the weekend.

Both teams broke halftime deadlocks to take winning form into the semifinals next weekend.

Mataura and Hokonui played a goalless first half in their match at Gore on Saturday. Both teams had their opportunities inside the circle in the first stanza, with a number of penalty corners being awarded. However, strong defence at both ends of the turf meant teams went to the halftime break without registering a goal.

Mataura lifted their game on their return after halftime, putting on a dominant 5-0 second-half display.

Melanie Sinclair, who has been strong for Mataura all season, was the first to break the 0-0 deadlock, scoring midway through the second half.

Four more goals came in quick succession including scores by Aimee Heaps, Latoya Grant and a double to Emma de Pass.

Mataura really "switched on" in a second-half performance that pleased winning coach Craig Sinclair. He credited a lift in the team's "passing and individual skills" that led to the improved second half performance.

Riversdale overcame a 3-3 second half deadlock against Southern to gain 5-3 victory in Invercargill on Saturday.

The visitors held a 2-1 lead at halftime, but Southern fought back after the break to level the score 3-3 midway through the second half.

Riversdale then took control of the game with back to back goals late in the second half to run out 5-3 victors.

Winning coach Gaye Shirley credited her team's gritty second half effort.

Riversdale "lifted and applied the pressure" which resulted in them sealing the victory, she said.

Mid-season restructuring of the top division of Southland women's hockey left only four teams in the premier league. That means all four teams' championship hopes are still alive ahead of the competition's semifinal action next weekend.

The Southland Times