Wests player Glenn Turner and Central player Jarred Brown in action. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
Central fought back from a two goal deficit after 10 minutes to beat Wests 3-2 and claim their fifth Capital League men’s hockey title in the past six years.
A powerful two-goal performance by Central’s Dan Hotchkis proved to be the difference in Saturday’s grand final at Lyneham.
The victory seemed unlikely earlier in the year after a horror run of injuries had Central struggling to keep pace and languishing in fifth position at the halfway point.
Central player Jason Donohoe in action. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
It even looked more out of reach when Wests jumped out of the blocks in the decider, racing to a 2-0 lead with all-out attack.
Led by captain Gary Backhus, Wests attacked at every opportunity.
Wests struck the first blow after only six minutes when London Olympian, Glenn Turner, fed a bouncing cross into the circle that was deflected off a Central defender for an own goal.
Wests took a stranglehold on the game when they were awarded a penalty corner in the tenth minute.
The well-drilled Wests were able to convert off the back of a long-range shot by defender Adam Baxter.
Having looked over-awed in the first half, Central were a completely different team in the second.
Jason Donohue struck first for Central, chasing up his deflected shot to slam the ball in for the first goal.
As Wests tired, Central midfielder Dan Hocthkis was inspirational.
Wests defender Adam Baxter seemed to be the only man capable of stopping Central taking back control.
It was only in the last quarter of the game Central were able to draw level, when Hotchkis slid the ball into the back of the net for his first goal.
Central had one last trick up their sleeve and when they were given a penalty corner with seven minutes left they pulled a play right out of the top drawer.
A fake shot at the top of the box and a reverse back to the corner taker Hotchkis allowed him to put his shot low and hard past the keeper to score his second and put Central in the lead for the first time in the game.
With the clock dying down, Wests had one last chance to save their season. Pressing hard at the Central goal, they were awarded a penalty corner.
Central goalie Luke Black proved to be up to the task saving the goal and the game for Central.