All together now
MATESHIP was tested to the maximum a year 10 months ago for Grafton hockey team 's the Village Green Angels when it was rocked by three separate traumatic events.
Tiffany Felton's husband Graeme and her son Blake, 7, were involved in a car crash on the Gwydir Hwy near Waterview on September 6.
Suzie Pereira's seven-year-old son Benji survived being hit by a car on Lawrence Rd, Grafton in October.
Leanne Pilbeam suffered a cerebral aneurysm and had to undergo brain surgery in October.
But the whole team rallied around its players and remarkably they've turned tragedy into triumph by making the grand final of the Women's AR 1 today.
At the time, Leanne, who's fondly known as Pilly, was living in a two-storey home without a main bathroom. Rebecca Oseland and her husband David with fellow Angel Libby Weldon and her husband Noel started asking around for help.
It started with a spot of gardening and ended with Noel taking on the co-ordination of a major renovation of Pilly's bathroom.
The team also held a major fundraiser for the three families.
In July, Benji had his final check up and was given the all-clear for any injuries following the accident and the anniversary has brought up a lot of emotions for his mum Suzie.
Benji will be decked out in green with angel wings supporting his mum's team tomorrow and there's no doubting the tough time has brought the players closer.
"We were fifth last year but after everything that happened we have had a great year of hockey," Suzie said. "We're heaps closer as a team and everything has been so positive."
The average age of the Angels is 44 and they'll be taking on Grafton High Teals, whose average age they estimate to be about 14.
"My husband calls us the old foxes though. Hopefully we've got a bit of experience and brain power," Suzie joked.
Women's AR 1: Village Angels v Grafton High Teals 2pm on Brent Livermore Field.