INDOOR HOCKEY: Grafton adapts to indoor format
GRAFTON is starting to get a handle on the indoor format of hockey, despite no regular competition locally.
It finished runners-up at the Masters Indoor State Championships - its best-ever finish at the five-a-side tournament.
"We only do it for a bit of fun," Grafton player Michael Russ said. "We don't even play indoor here.
"We've gone to state championships the last five years, but never made the semi-finals before."
The team had some expert tuition court-side at Wollongong in the form of Russ's son, Brent. He currently plays alongside fellow Grafton products Brendan Purser and Peter Kelly for Sydney Uni, which recently won the Sydney First Grade Indoor Hockey competition, and coached the older gentlemen across the weekend.
Grafton beat Macarthur 9-1 in its opening game and Coffs Harbour 2-0 before a 3-all draw with Manning Valley. It then defeated Illawarra 5-0 and again crushed Macarthur, this time 8-2 in the semi-final. However, the team consisting of Dave Dart, Mike Russ, Trevor Pate, Cliff Green, Graham Body, Peter Outterim and goalkeeper Peter Ryan slipped up in the final, going down 9-2 to Illawarra-South Coast.
"Our MVP definitely was Peter Ryan, he copped a fair bit of work in the end," Russ said.
AUSTRALIA fared poorly in the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany this month compared to its outdoor fortunes.
Despite winning all four preliminary matches, the women lost their quarterfinal, eventually succumbing to Belarus 3-1 to finish 8th in the tournament.
Australia's men similarly struggled to 10th overall.
The Netherlands won both men and women.