Waratahs win third grand final
IN a thrilling grand final that went down to the wire, Waratahs Bobcats downed the Redbacks 3-2 at the Barrie Smith Field in Murwillumbah on Saturday to retain the Tweed Border Hockey Association men's division one premiership.
The match remained in the balance with only seconds to spare, as a gallant Redbacks side looked to equalise in front of a large and appreciative crowd.
However, they could not find the back of the net and Waratahs were able to hold on to claim their third premiership in a row and continue a proud history in the Tweed hockey competition.
Waratahs captain Tim Willis said the match was one of the hardest he had played in recent times and he paid tribute to Redbacks for keeping his team under the pump.
“It was a hard-fought game, with both sides showing their desire to win,” Willis said.
“We knew Redbacks would be coming at us, especially after last year's grand final loss, and they really tested our defence.
“I thought before the game that if we could hold strongly in our defence, we could then build on our attack.
“Our back three in Troy O'Keefe, Josh Alcorn and Nick Butturini were outstanding, as were James Walker and Dwayne Newell.
“There were a lot of relieved players after the game and it's a credit to our players to be able to make it three in a row.”
For Redbacks, it was a case of oh so close.
Captain Ryan Farrell said the performance was a great step up on their loss last year, but it was still not easy to take.
“This was a very tight game and to go down to the final seconds of the match shows just how far we have come,” Farrell said.
“While we can be happy with the effort we put in.
“Some of the boys were pretty down about an hour after the game, when it sank in.“I'm pleased we were able to keep the pressure on Waratahs for so long and I think they just had some chances which they were able to convert.
“To think about how far we have come this season and see the improvement in the side from last year, hopefully we can go the next step next season.”
Redbacks opened the scoring through Mick Hall, before Waratahs equalised through Dwayne Newell, who was named player of the grand final.
A second goal in the first half to Waratahs' James Walker put the Burringbar team up 2-1 at the break.
However, Redbacks were able to mount a comeback and levelled the scores through Luke McMahon, only for Walker to chime in for his second goal for Waratahs to break the deadlock.
In a thrilling final passage of play Waratahs had to contend with a desperate Redbacks charge and managed to hold on for the win, 3-2.
For Waratahs, Newell, Walker and their back three were outstanding, while Redbacks' keeper Cameron Barnes had a very strong game, keeping his side in the contest under the pressure of the Waratah attack.
In the lower grades, Pottsville managed to break Waratahs' grip on the men's grand final domination with an upset 2-1 win over Waratahs Cougars, while in division three, the Waratah Jags were too good for a courageous Mullumbimby, winning 2-0.