Reigning premiers Albion Park scored a narrow 4-3 win over Wests in round four of the Illawarra/South Coast Men's Hockey League last Sunday.
The match at the Illawarra Hockey Centre was reminiscent of the 1980s and 1990s hockey era, when these two teams were great rivals who dominated the scene.
Wests are a revitalised team this season with the return of veteran first grader and sharpshooter Elliot Ashby and former key players James Ridell and NSW player Tom Miotto, who missed last season due to work duties. A majority of the Red Devils played for Norwest Strikers in the Sydney Premier League the previous day and were in top form against Park.
Wests coach David Rieck said he was happy with the team's play and praised his players, who all started as club juniors and slowly climbed the ladder.
"It was a good game and looks like its going to be close each time we play them this season," Rieck said.
"It was a good game with plenty of niggle, a usual Park and Wests game. But that score could have been reversed."
Ashby opened the score for Wests in the first minute before Darcey Kast scored two quick goals, and then Wests' Sam Wright-Smith hit back for a 2-2 half-time score.
Park took the upper-hand in the second half, taking the score to 4-2 with penalty corner goals from Christian Halyard and Brady Anderson, before Abram Unicomb reduced that deficit to 4-3 after collecting a clever pass from Miotto late in the match.
The second game saw Dapto earn their first points, beating Fairy Meadow 2-1. Archie Smith put the Falcons ahead in the first quarter before the Dogs came back in the last quarter to take the win through goals by Zac Nyrhinen and Lachlan Robinson.
"It was definitely good to get some points and hopefully some confidence as a momentum boost," coach Nyrhinen said.
"We changed a lot of our side around to try fix some issues we've been having."
This Sunday, Wests play University at 3pm and Park play Meadow at 4.20pm.
In round five of the women's league, Park asserted their superiority over University to beat them 3-1 after a 8-0 win in the first round. Park captain Emma McLeish, just back from Darwin after coaching the bronze-winning NSW U/15 girls team, scored two goals with Demi Stewart hitting the third.
Avondale defeated Railway Greys 2-0 with goals from Sharni Barton and Amy Partridge.
Wests got the full points after their opponents Meadow were unable to field a team, despite asking for a deferral.
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