Royals record first win
THE Grafton A-drade Hockey premiership is anyone's guess after upset results in both final round matches played on Sunday evening.
Barbarians Hagars shocked minor premiers City Bears 3-2, while Royals Clocktower recorded their first win of the season with a 4-1 win over Sailors.
It completed the brightest day of the year for a club which has had little joy in 2014, with the Reserve Grade Royals Celtics side celebrating their second win of the season - a 2-1 win over Bears.
Michael Summers was the star of the show in A-Grade, scoring three goals with Matt Lobsey supplying the finish for the fourth.
"It's a good feeling to get a win going into finals," Summers said.
"Everyone has been doing the hard work and it was disappointing it hadn't been paying off for while.
"So it was a good reward for the boys for all the effort they've put in."
There was a mix of excitement and relief among the squad after the game. But Summers said they were fully aware the job was only half done.
"We've got to come back next week and do it again," he said. "We're definitely confident. We're playing good hockey and the boys are keen."
Sailors have now lost three on the trot but key midfielder Joel Ward is confident of returning from back injury for the Royals rematch in this Sunday's minor semi-final.
"I will see how I go at training on Tuesday night," Ward said. "Mitch Weir also suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday night and could be touch and go."
Meanwhile, Barbs Hagars put Bears to the sword as a brace of goals to centre forward Laurie Urquhart and one to Josh Wainwright pushed them out to a 3-nil lead at one stage.
Bears mounted a late comeback with Mark Pollock and Dave Dart finding the goal. But they ran out of time, Barbs just hanging on for their first win over Bears this season.
"We controlled the game for most of the second half," Urquhart said.
"But in the last 10 minutes they hit back and nearly grabbed a draw."
Barbs have now won their past three to sneak into second spot and head into this weekend's major semi-final against Bears brimming with confidence.
"We're hitting form at the right time of the season," Urquhart said.
"We had Jacob Mawhirt, Josh Wainwright and Andrew Laurie all come back from injury yesterday.
"I know Bears were missing a couple but I still think we should go alright again this weekend."