Parkes beat Bathurst 1-nil in women's Masters hockey

Parkes travelled to Lithgow on Sunday to contest the first round of Western Masters League against Bathurst, and in a brilliant team performance, Parkes came away with a 1-nil victory.

Making the win all the more impressive was the fact Parkes had a depleted side due to a number of players being unavailable - only fielding 10 players for the match.

Being down one player for the match and with Bathurst having three substitutes to roll on and off during the game, Parkes needed to stick to a strict game plan for the entire 60 minutes.

A couple of last minute positional changes saw Parkes began the match strongly, creating many early attacking raids.

A penalty stroke was forced when a defender saved a shot on goal with her foot on the line, though unfortunately only a penalty corner was awarded and this chance went begging.

The side was rewarded for their efforts in attack when Denise Gersbach slotted the ball into the back of the net after Sarah Dredge made a strong run into the circle.

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In goal, Amy Thornberry might not have had much work to do, but her talk from the back was invaluable.

She was, however, called upon to make some crucial saves late in the second half - which kept Parkes in the match.

The defensive unit of Lee Hodge (pictured), Jane Grosvenor, Natalie Kelly and M'Liss Ross were calm under pressure and won every 50/50 contest with the opposition.

The midfield combination of Mandy Westcott, Sarah Dredge and Nic Knox found plenty of space and their distribution skills were phenomenal for the first game of the season.

Strikers Gersbach and Lisa Clarke, had to do a mile of running up front and put plenty of pressure on the Bathurst defensive unit and Gersbach was stoked with the effort of the entire team.

"I was so impressed with the commitment of the girls throughout the match, playing structured hockey and maintaining possession with only limited unforced errors," said Gersbach.

"I thought everyone did their job...it all came together for us as a team, despite being a player short."

Best and Fairest points: Denise Gersbach, Lee Hodge and Sarah Dredge.

Player's player: Natalie Kelly.

Round 2 of the Masters League will be played in Dubbo on Sunday, March 28.

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