Wests reach GF, meet Park

IN THE BIG DANCE:  Wests' Jimmy Riddell battles for possession against Fairy Meadow's Robert Fisher earlier this season. Picture: ADAM McLEAN
IN THE BIG DANCE: Wests' Jimmy Riddell battles for possession against Fairy Meadow's Robert Fisher earlier this season. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Wests Illawarra will go into Sunday’s Illawarra men's hockey league first grade grand final against Albion Park riding high on confidence following a stunning win over University last weekend. 

Sharpshooter Elliot Ashby was the toast of Wests as they deservedly beat the reigning premiers 3-1 in the preliminary final last Sunday.

It ended a long winning reign of the Students, who just could not get it right, starting with the 7-3 semi-final loss to Albion Park the previous weekend.

Wests will now play Park at Ross Robinson Field in a decider which will renew the intense rivalry the clubs shared the seventies.

Wests last played Park in the 2007 grand final and lost 4-1.

They’ve been a rebuilding side in the last two years and were optimistic of reaching the grand final, with top scorer Elliot Ashby and former coach and captain Wes Johnson predicting they would go this far this year.

Their win over University sealed their passage to the big dance. Wests captain-coach Jimmy Riddell couldn’t have been happier with the result.

“We just went out there and played our game, rebuilding this team this year and finally beat the premiers,” he said after the game.

Park are undoubtedly the team to beat in the decider.

They’ve lost just two matches all season and coasted into the grand final with an easy win over the Students a fortnight ago. 

Meanwhile, Park meet University in second grade while Park face-off against Wests again in third, fourth and fifth grade.