Park prevail in season's first heavyweight clash

HOCKEY

Albion Park drew first blood against University in the opening instalment of what will be a season-long duel between the Illawarra hockey titans.

The defending premiers snared a 5-4 win after the full-time siren when Bede Gillard deflected in from a short corner.

In a seesawing battle, after being 2-2 at the break, the lead changed three times in the second half with Park eventually earning the result in their favour.

Star attacking force Blake Govers continued his sensational form from 2013, netting a hat-trick of drag flicks for the victors.

University scored goals through Jeremy Huk (two), Brock McCracken and Josh Walters, but it wasn't enough for to earn revenge for last season's grand final defeat.

Despite this, the Students refused to read too much into the round two result.

"We won't take too much out of it, it is still early days," University's John Campbell said.

"It is always going to be tough game because they are a strong opponent."

Another tough match looms for University when they meet Wests at University field in round three.

"I think it will be a close game, definitely not a bad one to watch," Campbell said.

"We have a pretty young team as well so I think it will be an even battle.

"Going off past experience I think we may have the edge but you never know."

Wests' intention of coming out of the shadows of both Park and University has been well documented recently and coach Scott Matthews believes Sunday's match will provide a good barometer to their progress.

"They are going to be strong and tough to beat either way," Matthews said.

"I expect they will come out against us with their strongest team but we are also going to have our strongest team [on the field] as well.

"We have all our players available for the first time this year so it will be a good gauge to see where they are at and where we are at this year."

Matthews' side had their round two match with Mittagong abandoned due to lighting.

"We definitely would have liked to have a run on the weekend," Matthew said.

"We have only had one run under our belt so far this year so we are still trying to figure out the positions we are going to play and the style of hockey we are going to play."

In other round three matches, Park meet Dapto and Robertson do battle with Mittagong.

Round three

Sunday

Dapto v Albion Park, Illawarra Credit Union Field, 3.15pm

University v Wests, University Field, 1.30pm

Robertson v Mittagong, Croome Road, 3.15pm

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