CHAMPIONS: Grafton High School boys after beating Lithgow High School 3-1 in the final of the 2019 NSWCHS Knock Out Series.
CHAMPIONS: Grafton High School boys after beating Lithgow High School 3-1 in the final of the 2019 NSWCHS Knock Out Series. Kristy Paxton

Grafton High NSWCHS hockey dominance continues with victory

HOCKEY: Grafton High School continued to prove themselves as one of the best school hockey sides in the country with another formidable showing at the NSW Combined High Schools hockey knockout this week.

Grafton's girls went down 5-3 to eventual winners Taree High School in the quarterfinals but the boys won a third title in the past four years with a 3-1 victory over Lithgow High School in the final on Thursday.

Grafton controlled the game from early on with a 3-0 lead before Lithgow scored a late consolation goal from a penalty.

Grafton coach Scott Smith praised his side's resolve and the input of key players as they came through a tough run of games before the final.

"The boys played really well throughout, we definitely had the tougher end of draw with two really hard games leading in, then final on the other side,” Smith said.

"The contributions of players like Jake Lambeth and Tyler Gaddes who have played for NSW and Australia are immense. We worked out through school hockey that Jake has run 350km and travelled over 25,000km for events.

"Our team performances are lead by those athletes but we have a strong model of not just performance but also culture and we've been traditionally quite successful, making state finals for the last 12 years straight.”

Grafton High School boys in white, Harry Watts (centre left) and Keaton Stutt (centre right) with their semi-final opponents at the 2019 NSWCHS Knock Out Series.
Grafton High School boys in white, Harry Watts (centre left) and Keaton Stutt (centre right) with their semi-final opponents at the 2019 NSWCHS Knock Out Series. Kristy Paxton

Smith said the tournament was unique as it put kids from all ages up against one another.

"We have a range of athletes, mostly 16 and 17-year olds but some are 14 and 15. It's one of a few tournaments across NSW where you see those size match-ups,” he said.

Smith said the girls were unlucky not to go further in the tournament.

"The girls were hugely competitive and they were unlucky to meet Taree early on,” he said.



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