Passion on show as teams clash in joint competition
A TENSE draw, two thumping wins and one of the great displays of heart paint the most basic on-field picture of the first Far North Coast Premier League hockey matches.
The new competition, which sees the four Grafton Hockey Association clubs take on their Far North Coast counterparts, debuted at the weekend with one Grafton club winning and another earning a thrilling draw.
City Bears captain Dave Dart could not have asked for a better start to his team's campaign, with Mark Pollack scoring four goals to rout Easts Lismore 5-1.
"Not a bad result to start off," Dart said.
"We were missing 14 players across the two grades but they had a lot out.
"I think they were in the same boat as us."
GHA was struggling to maintain numbers and interest in local hockey in recent years, and the association sought to revitalise interest in the game.
Far North Coast found themselves in a similar situation, and had already played in a similar combined competition (the Border Comp) against teams from the Tweed association.
The Premier League is the result of the GHA and FNC coming together, with fixtures sprinkled amongst the local games.
"It was good to play someone different but also good to see a few familiar faces," Dart said.
"I knew a few of the guys from Easts and I probably know half the Ballina guys. I've played with a few of them before."
Sailors put in a spirited effort in their 3-0 loss to heavyweights Northern Star, while Royals were towelled 6-0 by Ballina.
Barbs were left rueing their missed opportunity, giving up a three-goal lead to draw Coraki 4-4.