THE grounds at hockey looked fantastic for the 2013 Naracoorte grand finals on Saturday, with many players having their warm-ups before their game on field two.
Well done to the grounds manager!
All teams who were at the top of the ladder at the end of round 15 won the grand final games, except the U/13 game.
It was a great day to watch hockey in Naracoorte.
First off was the U/13 game with Brolgas being on top all year, constantly winning each game but the enthusiasm of the young GB players paid off.
The U/16 Redlegs team were on top of the ladder all year and won their game in style. They played very well.
Thanks to the committed umpires in Richie Kirkland, Kelly Gale, Matt Waugh, Ben Thomson, Kenn Jardine, Jenny Duggan, Andrew Doecke and Brett Rumball, who made sure all games were played by the rules.
Into the afternoon the women and men played their matches. The women's game was good to watch with Darts putting up a good fight against Reds. The men's game was an exciting game with a 3-3 result and they were allocated 10 minute halves with no score, followed by 1 on 1 with the goalies.
President Aaron Clothier and registrar Anne Freeman announced the winners in each category during the day with Wendy Hill (K/L Rangers) presented Most Valuable Player (Women) 2013 and Richie Kirkland (K/L Rangers) presented Most Valuable Player (Men) 2013. MVP were voted on by their peers for awards sponsored by McDonald's.
Kylie Stewart from Redlegs collected the best club for canteen award.
Greenbottles def West Wimmera Brolgas 1-0Goal: GB Darcy Tully. Best on Ground: Byron Haese (GB) donated by the Busiko family. Best: GB Byron Haese, Daniel Ker, Liam Arnold; WWB Hattie Shand, Hannah Schmidt, Sophia Shand.
The two grand finalists from last year faced off for the second year in a row in what turned out to be a hard fought game. Both teams attacked strongly in the first half with Georgia Baxter, Josh Mulcahy and Ben Mulcahy being stand outs for the Brolgas team showing their skill and determination to get to the ball first.
Consistent efforts from Fletcher Tully, Sammy Smith and Ruben Tully kept the ball in the midfield allowing Greens to create attacking opportunities. Both teams managed a number of good shots on goal in the first half but with no success, finishing the half at 0-0.
The second half saw a reinvigorated Greenbottles team surging into the West Wimmera defensive half on a number of occasions only to have their attempts repelled by the tenacious efforts of Henry Hawkins and Jordan Baxter at full back.
The Brolgas never gave up and continued to attack, managing a few fast breaks and putting lots of pressure on the Greens defensive players. A great clear from the Greenbottles defence resulted in Paige Rowell earning a penalty corner for the team.
A clean pass from Ruben Tully allowed Byron Haese to have an open shot which was deflected back out to Darcy Tully who managed to hit a goal past all the Brolga defenders.
With 10 minutes left in the game Greenbottles never lost their momentum and West Wimmera was unable to break through to even the score.
Redlegs def K/L Rangers 6-0. Goals: Reds Luke Bunnik, Lachlan Brewer, Caitlin McKay, Dylan Montgomery, Cody Greenwood, Hamish Cox. Best on Ground: Lachie Busiko (Reds) donated by the Doecke family. Best: Reds Lachie Busiko, Caitlin McKay, Hamish Cox; K/L Rangers Zak Farrell, Lauren Farrell, Penelope Caldow.
With perfect weather for hockey, and the field looking in pristine condition, the two dominant teams in the U/16 competition shaped up.
Both teams struggled to dominate early, with nerves taking a little while to settle down. The ball moved quickly from end to end with both defences holding firm.
Midway through the term the Reds forwards managed to force a goal, which released the pressure, and enabled them to take the initiative and sneak two more goals in before the break.
After both teams received inspirational half time motivation from their coaches, the second term started with an arm wrestle, as Rangers attempted to make some scoreboard pressure and Reds tried to consolidate and extend their lead.
Once again Reds managed to gain the advantage by scoring multiple goals, while keeping the gallant Rangers side scoreless.
The final scoreline was 6-0 in favour of the Redlegs side, but this did not reflect the tough and entertaining spectacle both teams displayed for the large crowd.
The umpires awarded the BOG to Lachie Busiko, who displayed great team spirit and leadership to encourage his team to victory.
Greenbottles def Dartmoor 6-5. Normal time goals: GB Gavin Boord, Hugh Teate, Derek James; Darts Jono Bittner, Mick Derrington, Jim Robertson. Best: GB Derek James, Michael Williams, Gavin Boord; Darts Matt Garrigan, Jim Robertson. Best On Ground: Zac Cattermole (Darts) donated by the Boord family.
With the odds stacked against Darts, they came out firing putting Greens on the back foot early. With constant pressure, Dartmoor was rewarded with a penalty flick, which John Sadler converted into the back corner of the goals.
With the momentum in their favour Darts pressured well. Greens' young forward line who had been a decisive factor late in the season just couldn't get it together missing a few easy chances in their attacking circle.
Through the midfield of Hutchy and Johnny, Darts again pushed forward earning a short corner which young Jimmy converted, placing Dartmoor in a commanding position into half time of two nil up.
The pep talk of the season was produced by coach of the year Cody (from Brolgas) with Greens coming out with a new vigour. Their forward line was well supported by the Greens backs and a flick was converted by Derek bringing the score to 2-1.
Darts again dug deep with an impressive run down the wing by Mick Derrington, which was most impressive because he kept control all the way to the circle and slotted a goal from the base line. This should have been the death knock for Greens, but there was more to this side than pretty yellow headbands.
Attacking the circle, Greens soon earned another short corner which was slotted into the backboard by Gavin Boord, bringing the score to 3-2. Both teams started to find it hard with fatigue setting in it was a struggle for possession, Zac Cattermole stood up for Darts running hard and tackling well.
Tom, Grant and Roger stood steady for Greens repelling some fast attacks from Darts and setting up their forwards for a last push forward, which they were rewarded for a short corner, and just "by the hair on their chinny chin chin" as the umpire blew full time.
The last roll of the dice, Greens had to score to equalise and Darts just had to keep it out to win. Enter the combination of Mick Williams and Hugh Teate, with a direct hit from Mick to Hugh and the strength of Samson, Hugh muscled the equaliser into the back of the net to take the game into extra time.
With all players now contemplating an extra 20 minutes, it was game on. Both teams knew they couldn't leave anything on the field (except for sweat and blood) Greens soon had the upper hand earning several short comers, but to Darts goalie Chris, kept all shots at bay.
That was until Gavin Boord was awarded a flick to win the game (choking was mentioned...) but it was the nerves of steel of Chris Cock, Darts goalie, who triumphed keeping them in the game.
In the end winning couldn't be decided at the final whistle, so five one on ones, was the only way this could end with a result.
With the crowd on edge and pressure on both goalies, it was time for heroes. There were some stellar goals from Matt and John for Darts, and Derek and Mick for Greens, with some brilliant saves by both goalies Roger and Chris.
Ironically it was left to Gavin at two apiece, who only five minutes earlier failed to win the game. Under extreme pressure the ball found the back of the net handing Greens back-to-back premierships.
Redlegs def Dartmoor 5-0. Redlegs defeated Dartmoor 5-0. Best on Ground: Kelly Gale (Reds) donated by the Boord family. Goals: Reds Jackie Sunderland 2, Annie Busiko 2, Maggie Schibler. Best: Reds Kelly Gale, Jackie Sunderland, Annie Busiko; Darts Sally Hood (goalie), Sam Thomson, Tayla Anderson.
It was great to see many supporters out to cheer on the teams. Special mention must go to the cheer squad for Maggie Schibler from Redlegs whose tops and banners reading "Run Margaret Run" looked amazing.
After a strong year, Redlegs were seen as the favourites going into the game, but Dartmoor were not going down without a fight. Redlegs were strong in the first half having many shots on goal but Dartmoor's strong defence kept them out.
Dartmoor goalie Sally Hood had an awesome game having many saves. Redlegs' first goal came from a penalty flick put in by Annie Busiko.
In the second half Dartmoor continued their strong defence as did Redlegs who stopped many of Dartmoor's runs up forward. Reds were finally able to break through Dartmoor's defence with an awesome goal by Jackie Sunderland.
Both teams played a fantastic game but Redlegs finished out on top with a final score of 5-0. Thank you to all the supporters for all clubs. Well done and thank you to players in both Dartmoor and Redlegs sides. It was a great game, great sportsmanship and a lot of fun. A great way to finish the season.
For information about the next season keep your eye on the hockey website @ www.naracoortehockey.com.au. The next event on the hockey calendar will be the Masters Games in April. Thanks to all clubs who have submitted timely information for the write-ups. Thank you to the newspapers for promoting hockey - a great family game.