Easts and Ballina half a chance
The last round of the JH Williams Premier Hockey League promises to be a humdinger with only one local team East Lismore in the running for the last spot in the final four.
After late changes in the table following a protest from Burleigh (which gave them an extra three points) it became obvious that Easts need to beat Coraki this weekend, and by a good margin. This match gets underway at Hepburn Park at 5.45pm on Saturday. Meanwhile, Ballina and Burleigh get the bye and no points, which means Ballina is out of the race as Burleighs goal average is better.
However, the bottom line is whether Easts win or not, they have little control of their destiny. For should Mullumbimby beat the Allstars, Mullum will ikely sneak in on goal average over Burleigh and snag the fourth position. In a year that seems to have gotten away from the local sides, they are now relying on a upset to progress to the next stage. Fortunately, the scent of upset is heavy in the air, particularly after last weeks round where the Allstars ended Kingscliffs season with an outstanding 5-nil win. The Allstars have carried all before in recent times with Gareth Munroe, Curtis Price and Brad Mathers all finding form in front of goal.
On the other side of the ledger Mullum are also on fire, having knocked off the third placed Waratahs 2-1 last week. Although they boast a very strong defence they are well aware that a win is the only way ahead.
Easts are also renowned for their defence but have struggled to convert this season with Chris Clark their only regular provider. This game they need to slam in a host of goals. Two rounds ago Coraki looked like they could force their way into the finals but their last round 2-1 loss to Ballina put paid to that. That said, dont write them off in this match, as they are a feisty crowd in Coraki and they take great pride in their colours.
Alstonville finally turned a corner last week, after a long run of near misses, by thrashing United Vipers 5-2 in their first win for the season. It has been a long road for the redsoilers this year after the tragic loss of Adrian Crispo in a car crash earlier this year. This weekend they will have the honour of giving the Redbacks the wooden spoon in Murwillumbah.
The remaining match of the round is between Northern Star and United. Star are coming off a last gasp 4-3 win over the last placed Redbacks. Despite that, Star have had a good year and will finish only just out of the top four, which bodes well for them in 2007.