STARS SHINE ON GRAND FINAL STAGE
THE Toowoomba Hockey finals are in the book, and it’s a pair of familiar faces at the top of the tree.
Rangeville overcome a number of setbacks throughout the season to firstly get into the finals, and then claim another A1 women’s crown.
Red Lion and Norths fought out a battle for the ages, with the sides going to a penalty shootout.
HOCKEY: On Toowoomba Hockey’s biggest day, the big guns stood up to be counted.
A Tatum Stewart masterclass helped Rangeville return to the top of the summit with a 2-0 defeat of Past High in the women’s A1 final at Clyde park.
An intense first half saw neither side unable to break the deadlock, setting up a big second half for whoever wanted to take it over.
That person was Tatum Stewart, who broke Past High down with an intercept, found Lauryn Anderson in the midfield, with a finish from Katie Wollstein to get Rangeville on the board midway through the third term.
It was another Stewart intercept early in the fourth quarter that would seal the win, this time finding a running Tannah Hood, who launched a backhand shot to extend the advantage.
“I’m super proud of these girls,” coach Elke Swain said.
“Early on we just wanted to make the final four. Once we did I knew we had the team that could do this, it was just reminding them, and we did it.
“It was tough. Past High played a very good game as always. We had our goals that we wanted to achieve in the game and we were able to.”
Swain said they laid the platform for the performance in the first half, and a Stewart boost helped them get the edge.
“We were doing everything right. Our defence was good and our attack was getting it up there but just not able to finish off,” she said.
“Tatum turned up and the whole team just lifted to the level we know we should’ve been playing at.
“There was a great build up for the first goal and finish from Katie Wollstein. Tannah got another in the fourth where she backed herself and took the shot.”
RED LION HOLDS OUT NORTHS
The women’s finals was followed up with Red Lion and Norths playing out a thrilling shootout, that saw the former complete the President’s CupA1 men’s double.
After 70 gruelling minutes, the two sides were unable to be split at 2-all.
Norths got the scoring underway late in the first quarter with an explosive Carter Mogg shot from a penalty corner giving them first blood.
Red Lion hit straight back however, with Elliott Speed given some room to move in the forward circle, slotting home a backhand shot to tie the game up.
Again Norths was able to take their chances from a short corner, with Zac Gooderham firing to send his team into the main break up 2-1.
With less than five minutes to play, Red Lion needed someone to stand up.
That proved to be John Burge, with a long cross into the circle, and Corey Guse finishing it off to send the game to extra time.
Alex Hilton denied Lachlan Brownhalls first, with Liam Brown scoring to give Norths the early advantage.
Hilton again stopped the shot of Oliver Harding, but Red Lion keeper Daniel Burge did the same to Kris Glass.
Craig Smith finally got Red Lion on the board, and scores remained tied with Ben Edwards’ shot going left of the upright.
Guse and James Cunliffe had no dramas finding the back of the net to move the scores to 2-all with one shot remaining.
Michael Boyd answered the call to put Red Lion in front 3-2, leaving Will Suey with a chance to extend the shootout.
A diving Burge denied him, giving Red Lion another A1 crown.
“We had a decision to make whether to take an experienced player like Brett Rollason into the grand final or a really good up and comer in Dan Burge,” coach Scott Downs said.
“It was a really tough choice, but in the end we went with Dan. Brett took it on the chin and stood up for the club, and Dan came to the party in the shootout.”
Downs praised the way his side was able to overcome adversity this season,
“We’ve had a tough year and had to come back from some fairly big body hits,” he said.
“The words that spring to mind are resilience, preparation, mateship and the subordination of individual needs for the betterment of the group.
“I’m so proud and pleased to be the coach of this group, but at this point they’re coaching themselves.
“They come off at breaks and know what they have to do. They knew what to do if they went a goal down.
“Credit to Norths, they defended great, and Kris Glass defended like a machine. He’s still in the top two or three players in Toowoomba.”