Wests continued on their winning way this week with a 5-2 win against Associates at the Bunbury Hockey Stadium on August 17. Associates are without a win this season and sit at the bottom of the ladder; but this didn't deter them from playing a brand of hockey that Wests find sometimes difficult to counter. Wests welcomed back Ben Payne, Luke Wedderburn and David Reid, however were without Bryte Townsend and Miles Armstrong through injury and goal keeper Daniel McKeown who was unavailable. McKeown was replaced by club man and the ever-popular Neil Brookes.
Wests' first scoring opportunity came at the end of the first minute when a tomahawk shot hit an Associates player's foot and was rewarded with a penalty corner. A set play from the corner ended in an accurate flick from Brent Dancer that hit the net in the top left-hand corner, scores West 1 - Associates 0. Associates despite being one nil down showed great fight and continued to threaten Wests' defence. Good defensive work from Luke Wedderburn, intercepts from James Dawson and strong tackling from Brent Dancer kept Associates scoreless at the end of the first quarter. Going in to the quarter-time huddle coach Brent Dancer applauded his side's purpose and intent, asking his team to stick with the game plan and make better and quicker decisions when receiving and passing the ball. In the second quarter the ball moved freely into both team's attacking halves and it appeared that Associates had the best of the possessions and opportunities, narrowly missing a couple of shots at goal. Again, Wests showed solid defence, highlighted by strong tackling in the defensive "D" by Chris Brook. Two minutes before half-time Russell Hartley's successful shot at goal came against the run of possession and would have given the team some hope of playing at a higher level coming in to quarter three.
Wests came out after half-time with a positive intent and apart from allowing Associates to score two goals were able to find the back of the goal three more times before the final whistle; the highlights being one of the best goals of the season scored by Matty Braid, who deflected a hard hit cross from the top of the "D" past the Associates' goal keeper and one of Wests' upcoming youngsters Jackson Stokes also scoring. The talking point at the end of the game came from one of Associates' goals that unfortunately hit the goal post before hitting the helmet of goal keeper Neil Brookes. Fortunately, no physical injury, however it will be remembered. Goal scorers for Wests were Russell Hartley 2, Brent Dancer 1, Matty Braid 1 and Jackson Stokes 1.
Next week's game is against ladder leaders Boyanup at Busselton hockey stadium on August 25 at 3pm.