Scott Smith (right) in action for the Sailors against Southside.
Scott Smith (right) in action for the Sailors against Southside. Deborah Novak

Bears, Royals have 0-0 draw

IT MAY have been a dour game for spectators but the 0-0 draw between City Bears and Royals proved one thing: men’s A-grade teams are evenly matched.

After a slow start to the season Royals are beginning to show signs they are the real deal, and on their day have the ability to match it with any side.

Royals coach John Taylor said he was pleased with his side’s performance even though there were several missed opportunities.

“We had a few chances to score from penalty corners but their (Bears) goalkeeper made some brilliant saves,” Taylor said.

Royals were at full strength for the game but suffered a set back 15 minutes into the first-half losing NSW representative player Peter Kelly to a facial injury.

“Peter got injured early in the game; he split his cheek bone and I think needed stitches,” Taylor said.

“Last week he was involved in a head clash and also needed stitches ... we don’t seem to be getting much value out of him.”

Kelly has made a guest appearance for Royals in the past few matches but returns to Sydney this week.

Part of Royals revival this season, according to Taylor, has been their consistency.

“Our overall structure has improved and we are playing with more consistency,” he said.

“Last week against Barbarians consistency was our problem, but we rectified that against Bears.”

City Bears captain/coach Dave Dart watched his side from the sidelines and with star player Mitch Lollback unavailable Bears entered the game under strength.

“Having Mitch out for the game was a huge loss but I was happy to come away with the draw,” Dart said.

“We only had three shots on goal and Royals were not much better. Our goalkeeper Dean Broomhall kept us in the game and made some great saves.”

Dart said it was a complete turn around by his side who suffered an embarrassing defeat last week at the hands of Coffs Southside.

“After last week’s result we needed to step up and that’s what the guys did. It was a very good result in the end.”

In another tight encounter Southside came back to earth with a narrow 1-0 win over a much improved Sailors side.

After demolishing City Bears last week the Coffs side put in one of their worst performances of the season failing to take advantage of a bucket-load of short corners.

“We had in excess of 10 short corners and failed to convert,” a disappointed Southside manager Wayne Edwards said.

“On the other hand Sailors rarely troubled our goalkeeper Luke Judson.”

Southside star striker Heath Edwards broke the deadlock when he hammered one past the goalie but overall it was a below par performance from the competition front runners.

“Sailors consistently beat us to the 50/50 balls and used spoiling tactics by playing most of their players at the back in the defensive circle,” Edwards said.

Credit must be given to a Sailors team which has undergone a rebuilding stage this season and to push a talented Southside team up until the final whistle is a promising sign.

Led by mentor and class forward Scott Smith, Sailors were full of enthusiasm and commitment throughout the match.

There is no A-grade men’s hockey next week due to the long weekend.

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