Something to celebrate for Barbs with Kelly Cup win
By Jeff Thomas
BARBARIANS Hockey Club made the most of beautiful conditions to claim the major prize at the 56th annual Grafton Men's Hockey Association Kelly Cup in Grafton yesterday.
Barbs, struggling in the regular season competition, played Bears in the final.
Bears entered the final full of confidence with solid wins in the rounds over Sailors and Port Stephens, and were clear favourites.
The carnival match format often rewards teams which start well, and Barbs stunned Bears with a neat reverse stick shot from Steven Trimble into the bottom left-hand corner after only a few minutes.
This seemed to lift players on both sides and the game was played at a fast pace with lots of strong contests all over the field.
A disallowed goal by Bears, with a player subsequently sent off for dissent, and hard defence from Barbs saw them come out on top 1-0. No doubt they celebrated long and hard back at the Albion.
In the Consolation Cup the final was between two Inverell teams after local side Royals could only draw in its must-win last game, just missing a place in the final.
The Inverell Oxfords, clearly the class side of the field and destined to contest the Kelly Cup next year, prevailed in a tight contest over the Inverell Aussies 1-0.
Grafton association president Chris Blanchard said: "A big thanks to the travelling teams Sawtell and Inverell, who brought three teams, and especially Port Stephens for supporting the weekend. Next year we may look at moving it to a different time, possibly preseason, to see if there is greater interest. Otherwise, the future of this hockey tradition is in doubt."
The outlook is better for the junior boys next weekend with 27 teams nominated.