The experienced Ben Hawken is returning from a hamstring injury for United tomorrow. Photo: Jenny Kingham 0416Hockey_0952
Parkes United head to Bathurst this weekend to tackle competition heavyweights St Pat’s in what shapes as the match of the round in the mens Premier League hockey competition.
Both teams were held to 1-all draws in the last round two weeks ago and will be itching to consolidate their respective positions on the ladder.
United were held by Souths while Zig Zag surprised St Pat’s.
With both teams fresh from last weekend’s general bye for the Under 18s State Championships it should set the scene for an entertaining match.
United will head into the match with some major omissions as Jack Elliott and Regan Hotham are still on the comeback trail from knee injuries.
Defender Ben Townsend is out with a quad injury while Hamish Orr will miss the match due to work commitments.
It will make for a stern test of the depth of the United squad, however, they should be able to cover these losses with Brad Gardiner and Ben Hawken due back in the side.
The focus for United will be simple after watching Zig Zag spring the biggest surprise of the season so far.
The Lithgow side controlled possession for the majority of the game while pressing St Pat’s all over the field, a plan Parkes will hope to execute as effectively.
United lifted against Souths and will look to put in another strong performance where they compete for the full 70 minutes.
The defensive unit of keeper Nick Kelly, Tim Somers, Matt Job, Dan Wilson and Ben Hawken will have their hands full as St Pat’s have had no trouble in converting their chances this season.
United will put special emphasis on keeping out penalty corners as the Bathurst side have a number of potent variations.
Graeme Thompson will be a key figure in controlling the midfield alongside Damien Morgan and Mitchell Townsend.
All three did plenty of work last time out and will be required to put in another solid stint if they are to contain the premiership favourites.
Up front, United will focus on capitalising on their attacking opportunities with Gardiner’s return set to strengthen their penalty corner options.
Andrew Bourke and Josh Kearney were in great touch against Souths, creating plenty of headaches, and will need to convert at a high level against the competition leaders.
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