Cham­pi­ons crowned at the hockey

Bar­bar­ians clinch Premier League ti­tle in thrilling fi­nal

The Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

HOCKEY: With hardly any fin­ger­nails left and a voice hoarse from yelling for an hour straight, Barbs coach Brad In­mon stood star­ing at the Brent Liver­more Field score­board in dis­be­lief at full time.

His side had just wiped away four years of heartache in a sin­gle match, de­feat­ing City Bears 3-1 in a thrilling Premier League grand fi­nal.

For a man never short of a few words, In­mon was left stunned into si­lence.

As the Barbs faith­ful erupted on the Grafton Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion hill, the re­al­i­sa­tion of what they had achieved be­gan to set in on the first-time coach.

“This feels un­be­liev­able, words can­not truly de­scribe how I feel,” he said.

“I am just shat­tered, I am not that far off tears to be hon­est. To see the boys put in an ef­fort like that, it was just ridicu­lous.

“I have been in­volved in pretty much ev­ery Barbs premier­ship, I cap­tained to a win, to win it as a coach is spe­cial. It’s right up there.”

It was a high-oc­tane fi­nal played at a sear­ing pace with both sides quick to trade blows in the first half.

Barbs strike weapon Lau­rie Urquhart put his side in front with a crafty de­flec­tion in the sev­enth minute but City Bears had an im­me­di­ate an­swer, with striker Mark Pol­lock putting the fin­ish­ing touches on a shock at­tack­ing move from the restart.

Both sides bat­tled to gain as­cen­dancy in the mid­field, with City Bears stars Justin Al­ford and Bray­den Loll­back con­tin­u­ally threat­en­ing to open up the Barbs de­fence.

But for what­ever the Bears could throw at them, Barbs found an an­swer as the side dug its claws in dur­ing the first half.

When Urquhart net­ted his sec­ond goal late in the first half, the Barbs went into the break on a high, and In­mon knew they just had to hold strong in their own half.

“I just told the boys to stick to the game plan, stick to what we have been work­ing on, to make full use of the mid­dle,” he said.

“To Bears’ credit they played their skins out in that fi­nal.

“It is al­ways a hard task com­ing up against them and grand fi­nal day doesn’t make it any eas­ier.”

Barbs had to dig deep into their re­serves to hold out a press­ing Bears out­fit in the sec­ond half.

A brief melee, which saw two play­ers yel­low carded, threat­ened to blow open the emo­tions of the game.

But when Barbs cap­tain Josh Wain­wright was awarded a penalty stroke which he du­ti­fully put away it was all she wrote for the valiant City Bears side.

In­mon said it was a win that meant more to his side than just the premier­ship tro­phy and brag­ging rights.

“Chris Ship­man is leav­ing us this sea­son and the grand fi­nal was all about giv­ing Shippo the send off he de­served,” he said.

“This is great, we can for­get any heart­break from the past, it is all gone now. Th­ese boys have just etched their name in GHA his­tory.”

In­mon also praised the ef­forts of Reece Gad­des who he named best on field.

PHOTOS: MATT ELK­ER­TON AND CHRIS BLAN­CHARD

TIGHT TUS­SLE: Barbs cap­tain Josh Wain­wright tom­a­hawks the ball to­ward goal dur­ing the Grafton Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion premier league grand fi­nal be­tween City Bears and Barbs. BE­LOW: The happy win­ners.

MATTHEW ELK­ER­TON

sport@dai­lyex­am­iner.com.au .

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.