BATTLE FOR FOURTH: Tyne Windon reaches the ball for Sailors under pressure from Myra Pritchett for Kylies in a recent Grafton Women’s First Grade match.
BATTLE FOR FOURTH: Tyne Windon reaches the ball for Sailors under pressure from Myra Pritchett for Kylies in a recent Grafton Women’s First Grade match. SHANE SEDGER

Good fortune sees Sailors into semi-finals despite loss

SAILORS Hockey Club's top grade men and women both received a boost in contrasting circumstances in the final round of Grafton Hockey matches at the weekend.

Sailors went down 4-3 to Grafton High Blue in Women's First Grade on Saturday and packed their bags with the belief their first season in the competition was over. One player reportedly even booked tickets for an overseas holiday.

In the following match Kylies, who started the round one point ahead of Sailors, were soundly beaten 6-0 by McAuley White. However, the side was docked competition points for failing to fulfil a duty and handed fourth spot to Sailors in the process.

"It's disappointing for our team but rules are rules and I support the hockey association," Kylies coach Wendy Cotten said.

"I wish the four teams the best of luck in finals."

Sailors can now look forward to a minor semi-final clash with Demons Green. Coach Darryl Clark is happy with the form his side carries into the match despite Saturday's loss in which Courtney Haines scored a goal and Chelsea Hoffman a double.

"It was the best game of the season without doubt," Clark said.

"We've had a pretty good results against Demons this year. We beat them last time and our girls know that they can stick it to them, so hopefully it all goes as we want it and we get away with a win against them because we did beat them last time."

Meanwhile, Sailors Maclean Motors upstaged competition leaders Barbs Hagars to produce the upset of the season in Grafton Men's Premier League on Sunday.

Its new combinations have struggled to click throughout the season, but on Sunday, with the return of captain Scott Smith from suspension, the improving outfit dug deep for a 2-1 victory.

It was just Sailors' third win of the season but, being only a four-team competition, the side remains in contention and has importantly found form at the right time of the season.

A goal to Pat Allen saw Sailors skip ahead early and they went ahead 2-0 through Sean Lovering before Barbs clawed a goal back. For Barbs, it continued a losing streak which began in the North Coast Premier League semi-final against Ballina. They have since lost to each Grafton opponent as the side struggles to come to terms with the loss of brothers Troy and Laurie Urquhart.

Despite the loss of form, Barbs finished minor premiers on 60 points, ahead of Bears (51), Royals (39) and Sailors (21).



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