Astbury fires, Blaze snare hockey shootout

The Brisbane Blaze edged a penalty shootout to claim the Hockey One women's title in Melbourne.
The Brisbane Blaze edged a penalty shootout to claim the Hockey One women's title in Melbourne.

The Brisbane Blaze have mastered a dramatic penalty shootout to claim the maiden Hockey One women's title over hosts Melbourne on Saturday.

After watching their men's team cop a 8-3 thumping by NSW in the men's final, the Blaze made amends thanks to goalkeeping heroics by Hannah Astbury at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.

Astbury ensured the scores were locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation by saving a penalty stroke from Madi Ratcliffe four minutes from fulltime.

Ratcliffe was the culprit again when the shootout was all square at 2-2 missed to set the scene for Rosie Malone to slot her sudden-death stroke past Rachael Lynch.

"It could have gone either way, Astbury was magnificent," said Blaze coach Nikki Taylor.

"Then for our attackers to handle the pressure and score when it was needed was exceptional.

"I had a feeling when she saved the penalty stroke that she was seeing the ball like a watermelon and in the shootout she was fantastic again."

Astbury and counterpart Lynch were chiefly responsible for a low-scoring decider as defence dominated.

Britt Wilkinson eventually opened the scoring the Blaze when she snuck a shot past Lynch in the 37th minute.

However, Lynch saved the bonus conversion and six minutes later Melbourne drew level when Florine van Grimbergen produced a perfect drag flick.

As both teams went in search of a winner, Lynch produced another clutch save to deny an Ash Fea drag flick, before Astbury blocked Hayley Padget's goal-bound effort.

Australian Associated Press