MELVILLE City has earned a place in the State Hockey Premier League grand final for the first time in its 60-year history after two pulsating games in five days at the Perth Hockey Stadium.
After losing 4-3 to Wesley and South Perth in the qualifying final last Saturday, Melville backed up on Wednesday against Old Aquinians in a sudden death semi-final.
Both sides created numerous opportunities but failed to convert and the game looked headed for extra time until the last minute, when a series of slick passes took the ball from one end of the field to the other to create a chance for Melville’s Olympic representative Matthew Swann, who scored with less than a minute left .
Melville held on to move into the preliminary final, where it beat minor premiers University 3-1 at the weekend.
UWA entered the game as strong favourites after a dominant regular season and started the better of the two sides to lead 1-0 at half time.
It failed to build on that lead in the second half and a period of sustained Melville pressure was rewarded when Nick Tate converted a penalty corner with 15 minutes left in the game.
Melville then scored another through Matthew Willis, and secured the win in the last two minutes with a goal to captain Tim Geers.
Coach Russell Lee said he was immensely proud of his squad after what had been a hectic week.
“We have overcome a lot to get here and our self-belief is strong, so there is no reason to think we can’t take the next step,” he said.
“We have a ticket to the big dance now – time to embrace the challenge and see what we can achieve.
“It would be fantastic to see as many Melville supporters as possible at the ground to help us get over the line.”
City squares off with Wesley and South Perth at Perth Hockey Stadium from 4.45pm on Saturday.