An Ipswich player (left) duels with Tweed opponent Dylan Wotherspoon during the Division 2 final at the state under-18 hockey titles.
An Ipswich player (left) duels with Tweed opponent Dylan Wotherspoon during the Division 2 final at the state under-18 hockey titles. Tweed Daily News

U18s lose controversial Qld final

IPSWICH'S under-18 men's hockey team looked to have secured promotion for next year despite a controversial Division 2 grand final loss at the state championships in Murwillumbah.

In what the Tweed Daily News called a “sudden-death sensation”, the home team won Monday's decider 3-2 after being awarded a dubious stroke in extra time.

With both teams down to seven players under the drop-off rules, Dylan Wotherspoon calmly converted the stroke for Tweed.

Ipswich coach Nathan Hooper yesterday said the team was upset by the contentious decision which cost the visitors victory.

“It was a short corner at best,” Hooper said.

“We're disappointed but I guess, in the end, we weren't good enough.”

Ipswich and Tweed were deadlocked 2-2, forcing extra time.

Tweed coach Phil Reid was relieved to have won the thriller.

“The game went in waves - we would have a good run and then they would come back,” Reid said.

“Ipswich plays a pretty physical and strong game because they have some big players but we knew if we could get some momentum going, we had the skill to beat them.”

Despite the disappointing finish, Hooper was pleased his hard-working “top two” team all but secured a return to Division 1 at next year's titles.

Ipswich won all but one of their lead-up games, ironically a 3-1 loss to Tweed.

“That was the only thing we wanted to achieve - be promoted and anything after that was an absolute bonus,” Hooper said.

Hooper praised senior players like co-captain Lachlan Brown, Ryan Alcorn, Peter Mitchell, Sam Dobbie and Kyle Sippel for leading the way.

Alcorn and Jeremy Dalais scored Ipswich's goals in the dramatic grand final on the main Tweed synthetic field.

Ipswich had to play their lead-up games on grass.

“The boys really enjoyed playing a bit of old school hockey,” Hooper said.

Hooper also worked closely with Ipswich's second team, well assisted by Daniel Mantell.

Ipswich 2 finished sixth at the tournament.

“There was a good bond between players from both sides,” Hooper said.

- additional reporting by Bob Anthony of Tweed Daily News



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