Waratahs sweep the hockey fields
WARATAHS Hockey Club was very impressive in the weekend's Tweed Border Hockey action, with both the men and women claiming striking victories across all three divisions at Barrie Smith Fields, Murwillumbah.
It took until extra time in the women's first grade game, with the minor premiers pushed all the way by a third-placed Kingscliff outfit who refused to lie down.
Former Australian representative, Lorelle Morrissey was at her vintage best, with the Kingscliff player/coach controlling the ball and the game and paving the way for her girls to open the scoring through Sam Morton's short corner hit.
The goal sent panic through the Waratahs line-up, with the traditionally refined side running around without direction for much of the game.
Once they found their composure, Waratahs equalised through Ebony Philip and soon hit the lead with an Amy Paron special.
But Kingscliff dug deep and it wasn't long before Morrissey had her double and the scores were level with 15 minutes left on the clock.
With a grand final berth on the line, both sides rallied hard and Kingscliff looked to have the decider when Gabbie Nance found herself one-on-one with Waratahs' keeper Deena Colefax, but Colefax produced a crucial save.
Waratahs had the final opportunity with six minutes remaining when Philip hit the post from a penalty stroke, forcing the game into extra time.
It proved an equally tight tussle for the majority of the added time, but with four minutes remaining, Izzy Power showed great determination to charge into the circle and hammer home the winner.
It was an equally tough contest in the Division Two clash with Waratahs edging out Mullumbimby 1-0 in extra time.
However the Division Three clash was a little more one-sided with Waratahs running out 3-0 victors over Pottsville with all their goals coming in the last five minutes of the match.
All three Waratahs women's sides now advance through to next week's grand final.
There was no extra time required for the Waratahs men, who ran away convincing winners in all three grades.
Captain/coach Tim Willis showed true class to open the scoring in Division One, bagging a clever goal early on to break the deadlock with Casuarina/United.
He brought the ball into the circle along the back line and when he dummied to push the ball back to his team mates and then flicked the ball high into the top of the net.
Waratahs sealed the game with eight minutes remaining when a flying Adam Guest ran from 30 meters out, at top speed, and dove at a hard hit pass into the circle, tapping the ball past the keeper.
James Walker could have extended the score further but missed with a free stroke.
Waratahs now head into their 35th consecutive grand final.
Meanwhile in Division Two, Waratahs thumped Pottsville 4-1.
It was an even bigger blow out in Division Three, with Waratahs annihilating United 5-2 with veteran John Butturini scoring a double. Jags win came on the back of a late flurry by Waratah Jags completely blowing a disheartened United side away.