PLAIN SAILING: Sailors’ Barney Howard beats the Bears defence.
PLAIN SAILING: Sailors’ Barney Howard beats the Bears defence.

Sailors down Bears

SAILORS caused a huge boilover on Sunday with a well-deserved 3-1 victory over City Bears.

And, according to Bears coach Dave Dart, it was only a matter of time.

“I knew they were going to do this eventually,” Dart said.

“It's not only good for Sailors but good for hockey. It has really strengthened the competition.”

Dart was quick to praise Sailors' defensive efforts, in particular their goalkeeper James Patterson.

“I'm not going to take anything away from Sailors. They defended us out of the game,” Dart said.

“Their goalkeeper James Patterson was brilliant and I thought Mick Wunderlich at fullback had a blinder.

“It's probably the best game I've seen him have for a few years.

“We had a lot of shots on goal where they had four shots and three went into the net.”

Dart admitted his side need to regroup, but with a bye next week Bears will be forced to wait another week before taking on Royals.

“It's not good having a bye this week but it gives us a chance to get our game back in order,” he said.

“All I can say to our guys is poor preparation and poor training leads to a poor performance.”

Sailors captain/coach Scott Smith described the win as not only good for his team but the competition.

“I think it's more of a win for the association,” Smith said.

“It's good for people to read the draw and say, I'm going to watch that game and not have a perceived perception on who will win.

“These types of results make the competition wide open.”

For Smith he is finally seeing results as his young side continue to show improvement on the playing field.

“The kids have been working hard at training and are starting to apply themselves and understand the game plan,” he said.

“They finally understand hockey is played between your ears.”

Smith added a program has been put in place to benefit young umpires wishing to officiate A grade games.

“The association is running an umpires mentor program which is a positive move,” he said.


ROYALS coach John Taylor has a star-studded side at his disposal but for some reason his team have struggled to work their way up the A grade ladder.

After five games last year's premiers have only one win to their name and on Sunday against Barbarians they held on for a dramatic 2-all draw.

According to Taylor his side come out of the blocks firing, but it's the back end of the game which is a concern.

“Once again we had a good solid first half. We were good at controlling possession and looked sharp,” Taylor said.

“But again our fitness let us down. We faded in the last 20 minutes as our lack of fitness showed.

“The guys are going to have to do that little bit extra although getting everyone to training is difficult.”

On paper Royals have an imposing line-up with the likes of Mat Lobsey, Reece Henwood and the Anderson brothers from Coffs Harbour.

But with a quarter of the season already gone Taylor and his talented side need to start winning if they are to feature in the all-important top-two positions.

“We've had one win, two losses and two draws,” Taylor said.

“We need to start winning games. We're probably sitting about third or fourth on the table at the moment.”

Royals have picked up two players from Coffs Southside this season and according to Taylor they have both been handy acquisitions.

“Tim (Anderson) had his best game for us all season and received the Player's Player award,” Taylor said.

“He is starting to find his feet. I played him in more of a defensive role at left-back and inner-half.

“His brother Sam is also playing for us.

“Sam is a current under-18 state representative player.”

Taylor admitted the opposition finished the game strongly and utilised the long ball to perfection.

“Barbs were good in the second-half and we knew they'd use the long ball,” Taylor said.

“But once our fitness level dropped getting back to combat it was difficult.”

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