1997-1999 – Back in 1B

1997

President: Mark Lewis; Vice-President: Phil Fawell, Tracey Blair, Ron Glew; Secretary: John Boogaard; Treasurer: Sean Hamilton; Committee: Ray Barry, Tanya Penberthy, Norma Gordon, Margaret Howe (Juniors).

 

1997 not only saw the return of Kalamunda to 1B, but it also was notable for the demise of the offside rule in hockey.  Many expected this would lead to a large increase in goalscoring – if so, they were ultimately disappointed (or relieved), as most teams quickly adjusted to the new rule.  Critically, 1B and 2B were both expanded from 9 to 11 teams for the first time.  This was justified on two levels – it brought the 1B level in line with Classic League (which within a few years became 12 teams), and 1C had been unwieldy with 12 sides in 1996 (it would soon struggle to find 7 legitimate 1C clubs).  For Kalamunda the greatest novelty was the almost weekly event of our 1B and 2B sides playing consecutively, which at the least served to increase the crowd support.

 

Kalamunda’s 1B side was largely unchanged from that which won 1C the previous year.  Ron Glew agreed to another season as coach, while the core of his side was still Dave Clements, Robbie Cameron, Lyle Robertson, Glen Ryan, Simon Fitzgerald, Darren Chiari, Duncan Bell and Marty Campbell.  Craig Whittome played more often in the top side, as did Dave Corboy after his return from the east part way through the season.  Clayton Neri was an unexpected but valuable new addition to the squad, while Mark Loohuys, a former junior star, returned to play for Kalamunda.  Goalkeeping duties were handled by Scott Little and Ben Rowcroft.  They started with a 3-1 loss to Melville City, a respectable effort against a regular finals side.

 

Two juniors were targeted for senior duties.  Still an Under 17, Ian Gamble elected to play full-time in the senior squad, and was a regular in the 1B side.  Aaron Basinski was also brought into senior ranks on a frequent basis, mainly through the 2B side.  Ian was an outstanding talent and played a significant role in the team’s survival in 1B.  However, his reserved nature and ambition meant that playing at Kalamunda would never be satisfying for him – he left at the end of the 1997 season, becoming a fringe Classic League player at Vic Park in 1998 and gaining a more regular berth over the following years.  While less talented, Aaron Basinski developed into a reliable and respected top-team player at Kalamunda (with a year off in 2002 due to ongoing ankle problems).

 

Kalamunda’s first season back in 1B was always going to be tough, and only managing one win for the season shouldn’t have been enough to stay up.  However, the six draws ultimately proved crucial, giving them 9 points (27 goals for, 84 against), to finish ninth and just above the relegation spots occupied by Willeton (6.8 points) and Rockingham (5 points).  It looked to be far more comfortable part way through the second-last game of the year, when Kalamunda was 3-1 up against Willeton.  However, some confusing umpiring decisions in the final minutes (by an umpire aligned with Willeton) saw a 3-3 draw that left everything up to the last games of the season.  Kalamunda managed a draw with Old Guildford, while Willeton lost to Blades, ensuring our survival in the grade.

 

The one win for the season was against Rockingham, and happened during the club’s first ever trip to the Stirling Naval Base to play on their sand-based synthetic.  With the 1B and 2B sides playing a double-header with Rockingham, a bus was arranged to take both sides south.  For some reason it always seems to rain when hockey is played at the Naval Base, but this didn’t matter as Kalamunda came away with two wins.  The hardest win was for the 2B’s, who took an early three goal lead, but almost threw it away late in the game.  The bus trip back to Forrestfield was also memorable, thanks to several cartons of beer and Glen Ryan’s jar of glitter.

 

Glen Ryan was the 1B fairest and best for the second year running, this year also being named as Male Club Champion.  Amazingly, he was still in his final year of high school.  Despite strong pressure from his hockey coach at Mazenod (who was then highly involved with Harlies) to make a move to a stronger club, Glen remained loyal to Kalamunda.  This was both a reflection of the team spirit that Ron Glew had engendered in his young squad and also Glen’s laid-back approach to life in general.

 

The 2B side began their season with a 3-3 draw with Melville, a promising start but one they weren’t able to build upon.  They also finished ninth out of 11 teams, but did so with much more comfort, gathering 17 points (5 wins, 2 draws, 13 losses, 23 goals for and 52 against), well clear of Rockingham (9 points) and Newman (5.6 points).  This included a loss to bottom side Newman in the last game of the season, typifying the teams inability to convert chances when dominating.  Andy Thomas moved up from the thirds and clearly demonstrated his class, becoming the leader in a defence that was under pressure for most of the season.  He was supported by Scott Wills, Karl Morton and the experience of Mark Lewis, while up forward Tim Jones, in his rookie year as a senior, showed glimpses of the style that would make him a scoring focal point in the years to come.  Nantha was as hard working as ever, Luke Kirwan a huge physical presence and Jon Burgess the most reliable striker for the season.  Ron Glew made some crucial appearances, as did his friend Gavin Hollis, although injuries prevented him from playing more than a handful of games.

 

The third side was back down to Metro 5D for 1997, but with Andy Thomas in the seconds and the police sending Jamie Gouldthorp to the country, they struggled to be competitive.  They finished eighth in a nine team grade, with only 3 wins and 2 draws (11 points) from 16 games, just 12 goals for and 41 against.  Peter Buick, taking a break from “serious” hockey, was a star each week, mainly playing in defence.  Andrew Simms and Beau Ferris provided some younger legs in an ageing side.  The main positives for the season from the thirds were two new additions to the club.  Ron Tanner, previously with Fremantle, played a number of 3:30 games (his shifts at Fremantle Hospital ruled out earlier games), and proved to be the best right-half back the side had seen.  Andrew Vincent, previously a Rugby player, took up hockey at the prompting of his partner, Jenny Lewis (sister of Mark).  Keen to learn, he was a close marking left-half back who never gave less than 100%, regardless of the score.  In the seasons that followed his skills developed impressively, and his efforts at training made him an example to younger players.

 

Veterans B started with a 9-1 win over Suburban, a sign that once again they were finals bound.  Peter Hobson in goals, Alan and Glen Mihala, Mike Robinson, Richie Griffiths, Steve Rowling, Ray Barry, Ian Gould, Norm Brookes and Ken Byrne remained the core of the side.  Max Evans was the focal point for scoring, with Peter Smith only able to play on a part-time basis.  Emile Dawson from Harlies joined the side at full-back. They won their Challenge Cup, before finishing second after the qualifying rounds, with 12 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss, 51 goals for and only 16 against (2 points and goal difference behind Old Aquinians).  They lost the second semi-final to Old Aquinians and were then eliminated in the preliminary final by Harlies.  Alan Mihala was the team’s Fairest & Best for the season.

 

Our second Veterans team (Vets E) were always in the shadow of the B grade side, but began an equally impressive season with a 6-3 win against Old Aquinians.  Led by Andy Kirkpatrick, the side featured Graeme Fletcher, Dennis Wills, Neil Bradley, Ivan Vidot, Mike Webb, Gary Higgins, Peter Coppin, Dave Savill, Dereck Muntreanu, Alf Schneider and Mal Butler, with Dave Hocken and Chas Spencer playing occasionally.  John Henchy started the season, but was lost to a long-term injury.  Gary Higgins started in goals, but gave up the pads to Dennis Wills and played on the field.  They finished second of eight in their grade with 10 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses (47 goals for, 31 against).  Like the Vets B side, they went out in the preliminary final after extra time and a shoot-out (that season done as one-on-ones against the keeper, who for Kalamunda was a fired-up Dennis Wills).

 

Under 17B: 6th of 8

Under 15C: 8th of 8

Under 15 South: 4th of 7

Under 13B South: 6th of 8

Under 13 South-East: 8th of 8

Under 11B South: 5th of 8

Under 11 South-East: 3rd and 6th of 10

1998

President: Mark Lewis; Vice-President: Phil Fawell, Tracey Blair (WAWHA), Di Bower (Hills); Secretary: John Boogaard; Treasurer: Sean Hamilton; Committee: Ray Barry, Jo Rowcroft (Minkey), Margaret Howe (Juniors).  

  

After five straight seasons as senior men’s coach, Ron Glew decided it was time for him to pass the ball cage on to someone else.  Having the 1B side hold their grade in 1997 helped him to make this decision, making up for relegation in 1993 during his first year as coach (and reluctant coach at that).  Ron gave the club sufficient warning that they were able to advertise for a new coach in the last Hockey Bulletins of the 1997 season. Several applications were received, with one strong candidate interviewed, but as the pre-season for 1998 began, there was still no coach in place.

 

Mark Lewis took charge of the pre-season, and found himself with no option but to take on the role of playing coach for the regular season.  Although Ron was now focusing on Veterans hockey, he still made regular appearances at training and even in games, mainly for the 2B side, which was lacking in experience.  The 1B side suffered from the departure of Ian Gamble, Craig Whittome and Dave Corboy, while Clayton Neri effectively disappeared after one game (he was later found to be playing soccer instead).  Mark Loohuys was also unavailable for the season.  By far the biggest loss was Glen Ryan, the team’s most skilful player and one who still had great potential to improve further as he matured.  Early in the season Glen chose to suspend his university studies at seek employment in the Margaret River region.  He is still based down south, although he has made one or two guest appearances for Kalamunda in later seasons.

 

The only positive for the 1B side was the move of Matthew Howe to seniors on a regular basis, while still playing most of the junior season.  Matt was clearly the outstanding prospect of the club’s junior players of the time.  While his skills weren’t as polished as those of Glen Ryan, he played with a level of intensity and desperation that is rarely seen from juniors rushed into senior ranks.  Matt had an instant impact at 1B level, and it may’ve been greater in a more experienced side.  The oldest players in the Kalamunda side were Marty Campbell and Mark Lewis, followed by Dave Clements and Robbie Cameron in their mid-20’s.  The remainder of the side (Karl Morton, Duncan Bell, Simon Fitzgerald, Ben Rowcroft, Darren Chiari and Lyle Robertson) were all aged in the range 18 to 22.

  

The team performed badly at the start of the season, not scoring a goal in the first three fixtures.  In losing their first five, they scored only three goals and conceded 18.  In the sixth week they finally had a win (2-1), one of only three for the season.  Their five draws suggested they became competitive as the season progressed.  They finished second last, above Stirling City, and only one draw from escaping the relegation zone.  After Glen Ryan’s departure, Lyle Robertson stepped up to the next level and was a clear winner of the Club Champion award.

  

Kalamunda had been able to hold their place in the 2B grade since the 1991 season, by far the longest streak in the club.  1998 brought this streak to an end, the team finishing last with just three wins and one draw. Amazingly, one of the wins was against Harlies, a club that had been in 2A just a few years before and was a regular finalist in 2B.  The team was strong in defence, with Sean Hamilton and captain Andy Thomas at full-back and Scott Little in goals.  Mike Mitchell played his first full season for many years and recaptured much of his old form, although he struggled for pace.  Peter Buick was also back as a serious player, playing both in the forward line and at centre-half.  The forward line was built around Jon Burgess at centre-forward, Luke Kirwan and Aaron Basinski as inners and Tim Jones on the right wing .  Kevin Nagamany and Justin Ohora graduated from Under 17s, while Reuben Campbell came from an indoor background to play outdoors for the first time.  Kevin displayed outstanding potential, mainly playing as a half-back, but Justin and Reuben as diminutive forwards struggled against physical opponents.  Battling for numbers at times, all three had to be thrown in the deep end.  The team’s inability to score goals meant relegation to 2C couldn’t be avoided.

  

Metro 5D was renumbered Metro 3D, but the teams in the grade were much the same as for 1997.  Kevin Taylor, Jeff Hortin, John Boogaard, Andy Vincent and Phil Fawell again formed the nucleus of the side, with Ron Tanner and Stewie Maddison each playing half the games.  Clinton “Mad-dog” Mihala played his first full season of senior hockey, and was a star at full-back, although his fiery temper was occasionally exploited by opposition sides, who put him under physical and verbal pressure.  Geoff Gole also came up from Under 17’s, and while not as advanced in his skills as Clinton, showed some promise.  Peter Evans returned to Kalamunda after playing Veterans at North Coast Raiders.  Ian Gould and Ken Byrne split from the Division 2 Veterans side to add some much needed class to the Thirds.  Don Rosser appeared halfway through the season and played 5D’s when not available for the 2B’s.

    

The 3D season started sensationally with an upset win away to eventual grand-finalists Suburban, thanks to outstanding games from Ian Gould at full-back and Phil Fawell in goals.  However, with seven players aged 35 or over (three well over), the team was always going to struggle against younger and faster sides, which was just about everyone else.  Once injuries started to slow Ian down, the team some found itself out of finals contention.  They finished seventh with four wins and three draws. 

  

That season Ian Gould was also coaching the Lovell brothers, Tyler and Matt – Tyler would play in goals for Under 11’s, then on the field for Under 13’s.  Tyler would frequently watch Ian’s games, and was even used as a substitute against WASPs, becoming perhaps the youngest ever Kalamunda player to score a senior goal.  This proved to be just a glimpse of what he’d eventually achieve.

  

Veterans Division 2 had lost Ken and Ian to the Metro 5D side, and Max Evans to permanent retirement from hockey.  However, they gained Ron Glew as a full-time player and Dave Newton in what proved to be his last full season as a player.  Jeff Bell was a useful replacement for Max at centre-forward, and life-member Mike Pierce, back from the east, returned to hockey after a long lay-off.  They lost the Challenge Cup 2-0 to top side Blades, and then finished the season in second spot (10 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses), some 9 points adrift of Blades, but 8 points above third placed Dale.  Blades beat Kalamunda 2-0 in the second semi-final, and while their rematch in the grand-final was closely fought, Blades prevailed again.  Fairest & Best for the season was Alan Mihala, bring up a hat-trick of wins.  While always a key player in the team, he wasn’t to win the top Veterans award again until 2002.

 

The Veterans E side from 1997 did enough to earn promoted in 1998 (Veterans Division 4).  Andy Kirkpatrick led a side that was strengthened by the return of John Angove and Andrew Creelman.  They narrowly missed out on a Challenge Cup appearance, but went on to finish second behind Melville, who beat them 3-1 in the second semi-final.

   

Graham Ryan again coached the Under 17B’s, who scrapped into the finals and beat WASPs 2-1 in the first semi-final.  They went on to lose their preliminary final against Old Aquinians.  Under 17C finished sixth in a seven team grade.  Both under 15 sides missed out on finals, with the C-South side seventh of eight, and the East side fifth of six.  Similarly, Under 13B were eighth out of ten, while Under 13 South-East were last in a six team grade.

Under 11B performed well, qualifying second before losing their semi-final to Vic Park 2-0.  Kalamunda fielded two sides in the eight-team Under 11 South-East grade, finishing third and eighth.

  

The Metro women playing in 1C finished seventh in a nine team grade.

   

Positives from the 1998 season were Ron Glew’s selection in the State Over 40 Division 1 side, while Graham Ryan was named Captain/Coach of the Over 45 Division 2 side.

1999

President: Mark Lewis; Vice-Presidents: Phil Fawell, Jenny Lewis; Secretary: John Boogaard; Treasurer: Sean Hamilton; Committee: Ray Barry, Robbie Cameron, Jo Rowcroft (Minkey), Margaret Howe (Juniors).

 

This year began with the expectation that both the 1B and 2B sides had been relegated, and Mark Lewis began pre-season preparations on the basis of an April 17start.  However, the 1B’s were to be thrown a lifeline by the collapse of the Murdoch University Hockey Club.  Murdoch had only been 0.6 points above Kalamunda at the end of 1998, but then found themselves with no-one willing to take on the club’s administrative duties. The majority of their players moved the short distance down South Street to play for Melville City.  Late in January WAHA offered Kalamunda the opportunity to stay up in 1B.  At this stage Graham Ryan had agreed to take on the senior men’s coaching position, and willingly accepted the challenge of preparing for the 1B March 22 start on very short notice.  Robbie Cameron also took on the role of coach for the metro women, but remained a key part of the men’s squad.

 

Graham’s task with the 1B’s was made more difficult by the loss of the previous season best player, with Lyle Robertson deciding to test himself at a Classic League club.  Lyle did a full pre-season with Victoria Park, and was included in their 2A squad.  His departure from Kalamunda was partially compensated for by the return of Carl Pedrotti, a former Kalamunda junior, better known for playing indoor but still an excellent striker. Aaron Basinski was now full-time in the 1B squad, and was joined by Ross Hillier.  Ross was the most gifted of recent graduates from Kalamunda junior teams, but had played little senior hockey until 1999.  Perhaps the best pick-up of the season was Brett Heather, an outstanding junior several years back at Curtin-Trinity and very creative forward.  Brett oscillated between 1B and 2C in 1999, depending on his work and study commitments, and also missed a number of games with hamstring problems.

 

With a limited preparation, the 1B’s were surprisingly competitive, but didn’t gain points in their early games.  After four games they received a boost when Lyle returned from Vic Park.  Lyle was only being used as a substitute for their 2A’s, and was getting very limited field time.  Unable to promise him more opportunities, they agreed to a quick clearance, and he was able to take the field for Kalamunda against Harlies in week five. Ironically, his return was interrupted after less than half a game by a fractured hand, but he was soon back in the team on a permanent basis.

 

Rockingham had been promoted back into 1B, which meant another Sunday bus trip for Kalamunda top two sides to the Stirling Naval Base for a double header.  As was the case in 1997, Kalamunda recorded two important wins, and again the trip back to Hartfield Park was a loud and happy.  The drawing below by Dennis Wills captures a short break taken along the Freeway.

 

 

Kalamunda had a chance to clinch survival in 1B when they again played Rockingham in early August, this time in Perth.  However, they couldn’t finish last – they were on 13 points (3 wins, 4 draws, 22 for, 58 against), the same as Rockingham, who had an inferior goal difference and an umpiring bye to end the year.  Willeton were only one point adrift, but couldn’t compete against Modernians in their last game to jump over Kalamunda.  Robbie Cameron was the popular choice as Club Champion for the season.

 

The Kalamunda second side was always going to find life easier in 2C, which was weaker than it had been in the 1980’s.  Dale, Canning and North City Knights as clubs had insufficient depth to field competitive seconds, but ECU, Rockingham and Newman were all in contention for finals places.  Gosnells had shrunk to just one team, but it was allowed to play in 2C, and had dominated the grade the previous season.  Kalamunda started well in their first game, being 2-0 up against Newman after 10 minutes, but a five-man bench led to disorganisation and they were lucky to win 2-1.  Scott Little had played the first game in goals, but then withdrew for the season through work commitments.  This meant Phil Fawell, at the age of 36, was called up from the thirds to keep for the remainder of the season.  He starred in their second game, on grass at ECU, where late withdrawals left the team with only ten starters.  After a few minutes they were reduced to nine when Peter Buick left with a hand injury.  Despite this, they led 3-1 at half-time and held on for a 3-3 draw.  Over the next few weeks they lost Justin Ohora and Reuben Campbell to long-term injuries, but their experienced core (determined to clinch a return to 2B) ensured they only lost once in the qualifying rounds.  Tim Jones was now at centre forward and playing to his potential, scoring 17 goals for the season, while Kevin Nagamany had his best year as a senior player.  Daniel Byrne played his first full senior season and surprised all with his ability to play hard for 70 minutes.  Duncan Bell and Ross Hillier were used in 1B, but finished the season in 2C, where they were dominant players.  Scott Wills was perhaps the biggest improver on the season, controlling the mid-field.

 

While Gosnells headed the table all season, they played most of their games on grass.  The Challenge Cup was played on the Hale turf, which favoured the more skilful Kalamunda side, which won 2-1 (Ron Glew scored both goals).  In the second half of the season, several juniors were blooded at 2C level.  Under 17 ranks at the club were at a low ebb, with Brett Zimmer (raw but fast) showing any interest in taking hockey seriously.  He played half a dozen games, including the finals, and scored a goal.  Nathan Basinski, 14 year old brother of Aaron, was the most promising player at Under 15 level, and was also given several opportunities off the bench.  The second game of the against Newman (on grass at Newman College) was notable for the guest appearance of Steve Thomas, brother of Andy, briefly back in Australia from his post-doctoral studies.  While very unfit, scored the only goal for the game from a Duncan Bell pass.  He would later move to Perth and play 2B’s for Kalamunda in 2001-2002.

 

Despite only having one loss, as the ladder below shows, the 2C’s needed a draw against Gosnells in the last round to clinch second spot and promotion.  With Phil Fawell away in the US, Robbie Cameron padded up for the first time in years, and Kalamunda was able to win at Hartfield.  A week later, with Phil back in the country for just a day, Gosnells had a 1-0 win in the second semi-final.  In the preliminary against Newman, Kalamunda was 2-0 up early, but two late goals (both following some poor umpiring) forced the game to sudden death extra time.  Tim Jones clinched the win (ironically from another bad decision by the same umpire).

 

Club

Played

W

D

L

For

Agst.

Diff.

Pts

Gosnells

17

14

2

1

87

13

+74

44

Kalamunda

17

9

7

1

36

15

+21

34

Newman

17

10

1

6

64

11

+43

31

ECU

17

8

4

5

45

30

+15

28

Rockingham

17

8

3

6

40

28

+12

27

 

Before the grand final started, Kalamunda lost its most reliable forward in Jon Burgess, unavailable due to a clash with his father’s 70th birthday, while a sick Phil Fawell only played because no other keepers were available.  Brett Heather’s hamstring limited him to a few short runs, while Mike Mitchell tore his hamstring after 10 minutes.  This meant Brett Zimmer and Nathan Basinski played far more of the game than had been planned.  As it turned out, Sean Hamilton and Andy Thomas were impassable at full-back, and Ross Hillier played his best ever game for the club.  A brilliant solo run by Ross set up a Tim Jones goal, the only score of the match, with Gosnells hard getting a chance.  This premiership was actually Kalamunda’s first in ever 2C – while the club had made it to 2B twice before, they had both been on the basis of qualifying second on the ladder. Interestingly, Phil Fawell, Mike Mitchell and Peter Buick had played in the 1990 side that had last earned promotion to 2B.

State 2C Premiers 1999
Back row: Daniel Byrne, Graham Ryan (coach), Andy Thomas (captain), Brett Zimmer, Sean Hamilton, Duncan Bell, Kevin Nagamany, Brett Heather, Mike Mitchell, Tim Jones.

Front row: Nathan Basinski, Phil Fawell, Ross Hillier, Peter Buick, Scott Wills.

Absent: Jon Burgess.

 

The Metro 3D side finished fifth of six teams, but a distant 11 points out of finals contention.  Tyler Lovell and several other junior keepers were given games after Phil’s move up to 2C.  It was clear even then that he’d become an outstanding keeper once a bit taller.  Over 40 Division 2 were fourth mid-way through the season, but by season end qualified second to Harlies, who beat them 3-2 in the second semi-final.  They then played the preliminary final against Westside Wolves.  The second Veterans side had been promoted to Division 3, which proved a tough task for them, particularly with Andy Kirkpatrick mostly unavailable through work commitments.  They seemed destined to relegation the whole season, but rallied to finish ninth in the eleven team grade (4 wins and 2 draws from 16 games).

 

The Under 15C side (coached by Don Rosser) made it to the preliminary final, where they lost 2-1 to Melville.  In the Under 13 South-East preliminary final, Kalamunda defeated Kalamunda #2 by 5-0 to make the grand final against Parkwood, which they won.   The team, coached by Ken Taylor, featured Scott Robinson, Chris Wheeler, Alistair Rowcroft and Alastair Brook, all who have since played senior hockey for Kalamunda, and also included Gareth Bucket, Isaac St Clair-Burns, Rhett and Jordan Buderus-Taylor, Scott Whittle, Dave Martin, “Jeffa” Brown, Vassya Shevtsov, Aston Williamson and Garath Firms.