IN sudden-death extra time Dylan Wotherspoon calmly put away a penalty shot to give Tweed Border the Queensland under-18 boys' division two championship at Murwillumbah yesterday.
Tweed Border was up against Ipswich in the final, and in a thrilling encounter, the home side claimed the state title 3-2 before a generous crowd at the Barrie Smith Field in Murwillumbah.
It was the second major win for the Tweed team this year after winning the Coulter Shield in April.
And the win also gives the boys promotion, along with Ipswich, into the top division next year.
In a highly entertaining match, it was Wotherspoon who opened the scoring for Tweed Border early in the game to give the locals a 1-0 lead.
They maintained that through to half-time, despite creating plenty of scoring opportunities which they just couldn't finish off.
Ipswich, after absorbing plenty of Tweed pressure, also had its chances, but like Tweed, found its execution in front of goal going amiss.
After the half-time break Ipswich came out firing, and the side's sustained pressure was rewarded with a goal to William Dalias to level the score at 1-all.
That gave the Queenslanders some added spark, and only min-utes later they hit the front through a goal to Ryan Alcorn 2-1.
However Tweed Border has been the form side of division two and regrouped well for Nathan Brider to find the back of the goal and draw Tweed Border level with about three minutes remaining on the clock.
At full-time it was a 2-all dead-lock.
With extra time called, the sides played a “drop-off” rule - losing one player after each period of extra time.
In the second period with both sides down to six men, Ipswich looked to have a game-winning opportunity after it made a quick break up the field with two attackers against one Tweed Border defender and goalkeeper Cameron Barnes.
However some brilliant saving, not once but twice by Barnes, kept Tweed in the match.
A clever piece of play by Tweed on the counter had Wotherspoon in the clear, but an infringement by an Ipswich defender resulted in a penalty shot for Tweed Border, which was successfully taken by Wotherspoon, giving his side a well-deserved victory.
“It was the first time we have played a drop-off situation,” a relieved Tweed Border coach Phil Reid said after the match.
“The game went in waves - we would have a good run and then they would come back.
“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.
“It was a bit nervous in extra time, but our enthusiasm has been good all tournament and it was a fitting result for the boys.
“They all played well as a team and we achieved our goal of stepping up to the top division.”
In the girls' under-18 championship played in Ipswich, the Tweed Border girls also made it to the grand final of division two against Townsville.
While Tweed went down 3-1 in the final, with Sam Iwanuscha scoring Tweed's lone goal, the girls have still gained promotion, and like the boys, will be playing in the top division next year.
In the division one boys' final between Brisbane and Cairns, the Far North Queensland side created its own piece of hockey history by winning its first ever title 4-2, while in the girls' division one grand final Brisbane claimed the title over Toowoomba 1-0.