Easts capture second division title
While Mudgeeraba were taking the top title in the JH Williams Premier Hockey League with a 2-1 win against Labrador on Sunday, East Lismore were busy thrashing Northern Star 3-1 to take the second division title.
Northern Star had made the final by knocking off Coraki 1-nil and East Lismore had got the better of Kingscliff in the other semi 5-1. Both matches were extremely fast paced and it was clear that this had an effect on the final the next day. The free flowing style of the day before was instead replaced by the leaden footed struggle of two exhausted squads.
Thomas Vantaggiato gave Star the edge early with a well taken goal but Easts defence knuckled down to the job and quickly took charge of play. As they had done against Kingscliff, Easts converted their defensive prowess into counter-attacking opportunities to score two of their own through Simon Mackney to give them the lead at half time.
Chris McGuiness, Mitchell Harley, Phil Hancock and Brad Hassett worked to give Star some go forward but the sting was gone, and when Easts young gun Jake Temporali scored 20 minutes out, the game moved beyond Stars reach.
The local tilt at the JH Williams second division womens title came to an early conclusion on Saturday with East Lismore and Ballina both losing their semi finals 3-nil to the Redbacks and Griffith respectively.
The Redbacks gave a polished performance to extend the hoodoo over East Lismore, who were missing key striker Janelle Pitmann. Despite the lopsided result the young Easts side made their more fancied opponents work for everything.
As for Griffith, they owe much of their win to stand-out keeper Tracey OFlanagan who, with Katrina Nitarski and Katie Whitton, formed an impenetrable defensive barrier.
Whitton opened the scoring for Griffith against the run of play as Ballina dominated lengthy chunks of the first half. Ballina worked tirelessly in attack and produced some grand moments, but Griffiths defence proved too stout.
Ballina played valiantly and continued to press in attack but Griffith were methodical and persistent, and when Karen Noonan and Katie Ware scored, the match drifted beyond Ballinas reach.
Griffith won the decider 3-2 over the Redbacks, which was decided in 20 minutes of extra time.
This Saturday the Far North Coast teams play the local finals series on Hepburn Park. In the womens competition Ballina play Northern Star in the minor semi at 2.55pm and Glee play Easts at 5.45pm in the major semi final.
In the mens Northern Star play Coraki at 4.20pm in the minor semi final and Easts play Ballina at 7.10pm in the major semi.