Grafton hockey girls up with the best
By ADRIAN MILLER
THE Northern NSW Half-State Under-15 Girls' Hockey Championships were held in Grafton over the weekend with both Grafton teams coming away with excellent results.
As many as 18 teams contested the championships over the two days, drawn from the northern half of the State.
Grafton had teams in both divisions, and they finished runner-ups in division one and third in division two. The finals were played in front of a full house at the hockey fields at Fisher Park, with the division one final between North Shore and Tamworth locked together at 1-all after extra time.
North Shore ended up winners after beating Tamworth 4-2 on penalties. In division two, Central Coast defeated Coffs harbour 2-1.
Grafton Women's Hockey Association president Cheryl Kinnane said the results for the Grafton teams were fantastic.
Mrs Kinnane said because of a recent change in age groups, this was the first year for most of the Grafton girls in the Under15s, and they showed fantastic potential.
She said there was even better news for Grafton when three girls were selected for the Northern Half-State representative squad.
Angela Payne, Sarah Thomas and Tahleah Gillespie were selected.
Mrs Kinnane said the girls were close to NSW selection, with the NSW squad chosen from the Northern versus Southern representative match later in the year.
She said the standard of hockey throughout the weekend was exceptional, with the girls competing displaying talent well beyond their years.
"The division one game was extraordinary," she said.
"The stickwork and co-ordination amongst the girls was fantastic."
Mrs Kinnane said the cham- pionships were also a chance for umpires, with all officials having to be under 25.
"The umpires all must be junior umpires, no-one over the age of 25," she said.
"At this tournament we had a lot of umpires between 15 and 18 who were very good, and the umpire's assessor was very impressed, so much so that we had two people involved with the final, Samantha Munns and Nicole Munns."
Mrs Kinnane said the weekend had been a great success, largely due to the large team of workers. Visitors were impressed with the new water-based field, so much so Grafton is in line to host further hockey championships.