DEFINING MOMENT: Dan Shipman makes a point-blank reflex save to deny City Bears captain Dave Dart a certain goal during the Grafton Hockey Men’s A Grade major semi-final on Sunday. Photo: Shane Sedger
DEFINING MOMENT: Dan Shipman makes a point-blank reflex save to deny City Bears captain Dave Dart a certain goal during the Grafton Hockey Men’s A Grade major semi-final on Sunday. Photo: Shane Sedger Shane Sedger

Hagars upstage Bears to reach hockey decider

COURAGEOUS defence underpinned Barbarians Hagars' tense major semi-final victory over arch-rivals City Bears.

Bears led 2-1 at the interval courtesy of Mark Pollock's second goal of the evening - a "back-stick screamer".

But second half goals to Kieran Marshall and Josh Wainwright added to Nick Pate's earlier effort to put Barbs 3-2 ahead.

A reflex stop by defender Dan Shipman and penalty stroke save from goalie and captain Ryan Creed in the dying minutes ensured Barbs' passage to the grand final.

"They defended well," conceded Bears captain Dave Dart.

"Very committed. Dan Shipman's backline save was one of the best I've ever seen from a fullback. The goalkeeper was isolated and it was going in for all money."

Bears had the perfect opportunity to equalise. But accomplished goalie Creed rose to the occasion at the right moment to stop Jacob Purser's effort.

A month ago Barbs had only two wins to their credit all their season. Now, on the back of a four wins in a row and two on the trot against Bears, they have the luxury of a week off as first qualifiers into the grand final.

"I was disappointed about the two earlier goals so it felt good to stop the penalty stroke," Creed said.

"I just went to where I thought he would hit it, so it was a good guess.

"Until last round we had two wins all year, now a four-game winning streak.

"We had a fairly new side this year after we lost a few guys, so it took a while for those guys to step up and gel together.

"It's all starting to come together at the right time of the year which is good."

Earlier Sailors put the final nail in Royals' season in similar fashion.

At 2-all Matt Lobsey had a chance to put Royals into the lead but failed to convert a penalty stroke. Then two minutes from full time Reece Amos slotted home the winner for Sailors.

"It was so close the whole time and they battled with us right to the end, which is a credit to them," Sailors' Joel Ward said.



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