Veterans stick to job at state level
By TONY WHITE
PIPPED at the final hurdle, anguish certainly, but a consoling feeling of a job well done.
Grafton men's Over-40s hockey team was agonisingly beaten 2-1 by Tamworth in a tense final of the NSW State B-division Over-40s championship in Bathurst last weekend.
"We went into the tournament a bit under done in terms of numbers. It was a major effort from the team to do as well as we did," team member Michael Wunderlich said.
"We all wanted to win but Tamworth were the better side on the day.
"They really had to play to beat us, we didn't hand it to them on a platter. For the last three or four years we've made the semi-finals and got beaten by the team that eventually wins.
"This time we've made the final. Next year we'll be even more determined to win the thing."
Grafton, captained by Michael Russ, lost 1-0 in its opening match, beat Illawarra 2-0, scored a goal with 40 seconds remaining to beat Manning Valley 1-0 then scored a 2-1 win over Newcastle to place runner-up in its pool.
Grafton then beat pool-A winners Sydney 2-0 in the semi-final to advance to the final. Tamworth scored first in the final after a deflection from a penalty corner then scored again midway through the second half to lead 2-0.
Glen Creed pulled one back for Grafton soon after and despite several good chances, Grafton failed to draw level and force extra time.
Phillip Cavanagh and goal keeper Robert Hull were voted equal players' player over the tournament ahead of Wunderlich and Scott Thompson.
Creed scored three goals during the tournament, the first time he had ever scored a goal at state level.
Manager Ray Loy also scored three goals and Michael Shipman, two.
Following the state championships, four Grafton players were selected for NSW teams to contest the national titles in Perth from October 2-14.
Russ was picked as vice-captain of the NSW No 2s and Wunderlich as vice-captain, Cavanagh and Shipman in the NSW No 3s.
"A big thank you to our manager Ray Loy, our coach Ricky Fisher and masseuse, Rob, a Pommy fella we nicknamed 'Aussie Bob', for all their work with us," Wunderlich said.
nTHE Grafton men's veterans Over-50s hockey teams travelled to the Central Coast to compete in the state championships.
Grafton's first match was against old foes and tournament favourites Coffs Harbour. After leading well into the match Grafton was defeated 3-2 with both Grafton's goals being scored by Barry Livermore.
Grafton then faced the strong Sydney side and after some important team positional changes Grafton were too strong for the City team, winning 2-0 with a combined effort between Col Chivers and Ken Davison scoring the first goal with Alf Groves sealing the match for a well-constructed win.
Next was Newcastle with Grafton winning this match 2-1 with a great solo effort by Greg Dennis and a penalty stroke conversion by Andrew Terrey putting the match out of Newcastle's reach.
A great ironman effort by Neville Collins in defence helped Grafton with their win.
Injuries then struck the Grafton team, with five players unavailable for the next match, resulting in defeats to Illawarra and then Orange in the last match.
Players' player for best effort over the carnival was Dennis Greensill with special congratulations to Andrew Terrey being selected to represent NSW in the veterans state championships.