MOLLYMOOK’S Kalindi Commerford has been rewarded for 33 games and four seasons of hard work in Canberra Strikers colours, by being named in their greatest ever team – at a special presentation on Saturday in the nation’s capital.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Commerford’s team mate Edwina Bone couldn't believe her luck – of all days for the heavens to open, it had to be this one.
The start and finish were both delayed by lightning strikes but it was the Canberra Strikers doing all the damage in an Australian Hockey League showdown at the ACT Hockey Centre on Saturday.
Rolling thunderstorms caused plenty of dramas but Canberra eventually claimed a crucial 2-nil victory over the NSW Arrows before Hockey ACT named its greatest Strikers and Canberra Lakers teams later that night.
Lightning strikes with five minutes left in the clash saw play suspended for 30 minutes, but it only delayed the inevitable as the match was eventually called off with Canberra declared winners.
It kickstarted a whirlwind day for the Strikers captain after she was named in Canberra's greatest ever team alongside current teammate and Hockeyroo Kalindi Commerford - but she couldn't stick around to celebrate.
Straight after the game, Bone was in a car and on the way to Wagga Wagga for a wedding.
"We had two delays and I was like ‘oh my gosh, I can’t afford to have this delay because I’ve got to get to Wagga’," Bone said.
"To warm up three times was a big ask for the group but they still performed fairly well, and to get a win over NSW was nothing to sneeze at so I was pretty happy.
"It was a little bit weird to be honest. We didn’t really get communicated much information, we just got told we had to wait half an hour and see what happened.
"We warmed up to finish that last five minutes of play and then NSW walked over and said the game was over and we shook hands. It was a bit anticlimactic. We were like ‘yay, we won’, but it wasn’t like we had finished the game so it felt like a default that we won."
The starting eleven players were picked solely on talent while the reserves were chosen based on talent and their contribution to the franchise over a long period of time.
It made for a bittersweet day for ex-Canberra star Anna Flanagan, whose shift to the Arrows was never going to stand in the way of her being named in the Strikers commemorative team.
NSW failed to recover from Beckie Middleton's penalty corner and hit the ensuing field goal conversion to give the hosts a two-goal buffer late in the second quarter.
Middleton's efforts meant former Flanagan walked away empty handed while Jessica Smith claimed bragging rights over her sister Emily.
Flanagan and the ACT will now go their separate ways ahead of the AHL finals, which will be played on the Gold Coast from Thursday until Saturday to mark the final version of the league's current model before a revamped franchise league is launched next year.
Canberra won't know their finals fate until the final match of the round is completed in Melbourne on Sunday but a win over the Arrows has guaranteed them a top three spot in pool A.
"When you get up to the Gold Coast, you only have one opportunity to play that quarter-final and get into the semis, so having that competition leading into next week is definitely going to be a benefit to us," Bone said.
"Hopefully we’re only going to get better from here."
Quarter-final match-ups are be determined by pool placings, with first in pool A to play fourth in pool B, second in pool B to play third in pool A, third in pool B to play second in pool A, and fourth in pool A to play first in pool B on Thursday 25 October.
Winners proceed to the semi-finals before the medal matches on Sunday.
Strikers greatest ever team: 1. Rachel Durdin, 2. Katie Allen, 3. Nicole Arrold, 4. Edwina Bone, 5. Lisa Powell (Carruthers), 6. Anna Flanagan, 7. Dee Jennings, 8. Sarah Young (Taylor), 9. Kalindi Commerford, 10. Peta Mackinnon (Gallagher), 11. Katrina Powell, 12. Sara Cornish, 13. Megan Staunton (Towill), 14. Tracey Belbin, 15. Christine Dobson, 16. Anne Brown.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.