A GOAL to Casuarina's Kim Tuckwell in the third stanza of extra time has given her side the Tweed Border Hockey Association women's division one premiership at the Barrie Smith Fields in Murwillumbah on Saturday night.
In a marathon match that had the huge crowd on the edge of their seats, both Casuarina and minor premiers Waratah Falcons found themselves locked in a very even tussle which went end-to-end with neither side able to break the deadlock until Tuckwell's goal in the third period of extra time.
The match was a replay of last year's grand final which was won by Waratahs and the rivalry between the two sides produced some outstanding hockey.
Both sides showed plenty in attack but it was the goal keepers - Casuarina's Hope Philip and Waratahs' Deena Colefax that shone at both ends of the field, saving shots and keeping their teams in the contest.
Playing extra time which included player drop-offs - each side being reduced by two players in each extra time period - both Casuarina and Waratahs were looking for a result before having to go into penalty strokes.
For Casuarina, it was a combination of youth and experience which allowed Tuckwell to score the winning goal about four minutes into the third extra-time period after some good lead-up work by her mid-field.
“I was so relieved that we didn't have to go into the penalty shoot-out,” Casuarina player Margie Coleman said yesterday.
“I thought we managed to play a very controlled game and were able to upset the rhythm a bit of Waratahs who play with plenty of passion.
“We were kept on our toes but seemed to control the ball well and I have a feeling that if we went into extra time, we could come away with the win.”
The minor premiers, Waratahs, looked dangerous throughout the game, especially forward Izzy Power who had several opportunities to score but just couldn't quite find the net.
“Izzy had a great game and was a real handful and was unlucky not to score but in grand finals, you have to take your opportunities,” Coleman said.
One opportunity missed by Waratahs was a penalty stroke in the first half which was denied by Casuarina's keeper, Philip.
Another player who stood out for Casuarina was young striker Savannah Fitzpatrick who worked some good combinations with Tuckwell in attack while the Casuarina backs managed to hold out some enterprising raids by Waratahs.
Waratahs' fullback and captain, Candice Philip was named player of the match.
“This is a great win for the club and is a reward for what we are trying to do in bringing young players through, working with the more experienced members of the team,” Coleman said. • Lower grade results, Page 26