Saturday, September 10
Australia A (5) vs. Canada (2)
Game #2 of the CANgaroo Clash started in front of a crowd of over 1000 at West Vancouver’s new Rutledge Field. After a brief official ceremony with local dignitaries, the crowd watched as Nick and Connor Rutledge led the two teams onto the field for national anthems. After the anthems, the boys were presented with honourary National Team jerseys for both Australia and Canada by the captains of each team. It was a fitting tribute to their father Ross (Roscoe) Rutledge, who was a hugely popular, influential coach and mentor to so many juniors within the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club (WVFHC).
With the sun shining and the partisan crowd anxious to see Canada get back into the series, the game began with a bang. Both sides traded excellent attacking sequences, with forwards running onto open-field passes on both sides… the pace of the game was almost frantic. Both sides were anxious to establish an early advantage by spreading the field, and taking the ball into the wide channels of the field. Scott Tupper in the Canadian defence was instrumental in moving the attack from side-to-side with authority. Up front, Canada’s forwards, working on a short-shift rotation, did well to maintain sustained pressure on the Australian defence. The first half ended with a 3-2 advantage for Australia, with Canadian goals by Mark Pearson and Keegan Pereira. Antoni Kindler in the Canadian net made a number of crucial saves that kept Canada firmly in the match for the second half.
As the sprinklers turned-on for half-time, 200 juniors from WVFHC jumped onto the field and played games, while both teams regrouped for the second half.
Australia started the second half with full intention to take the game to the young Canadian Team, pressing their forwards high and making channel movement an increasingly difficult task for Tupper and Watson. The Aussies were rewarded for their efforts, forcing a couple of crucial defensive lapses and pushing the flow of the game in their favour. Australia was able to get a fourth marker of the game through a sizzling shot low into the Canadian goal, bringing the score line to 4-2. Despite a late Canadian surge, the Australians were able to maintain control over the midfield and keep Canada from mounting any dangerous attacks late in the game. With time winding down, Canada pushed forward, leaving holes in deep-defence that Australia took full advantage of. It was run-and-gun for the final 10 minutes. With Canada left exposed at the back, Australia was able to put in a 5th goal.
The match ended with a 5-2 Australia win.
After the match, 190 West Vancouver juniors jumped onto the field to participate in the Jr. CANgaroo clinics. Both the Australian and Canadian Men’s teams coached the youngsters, giving the kids an incredible hockey experience they will not soon forget. Also in attendance were members of the Women’s National Teams: Katie Baker, Kate Gillis, Hannah Haughn and Marian Dickinson. It was a fantastic way for the WVFHC to wrap-up a special day at their new Rutledge Field.
More photos of the match: Facebook Album