The standard of play in this years Far North Coast Hockey semi finals has increased across the board in both the mens and womens competitions, according to long time hockey official Jim Challenor.
The minor semi final was a replay of the previous weekends semi when Coraki and Northern Star met. However, this time Coraki won the match 3-1 in an extremely close, well contested and emotionally charged encounter.
The first half was an outstanding display of hockey from both sides, with Star probably having the better of the statistics, but Coraki keeper Peter Ryan maintained his superb recent form to deny the black and white.
While the scoreline flatters Coraki a little, they proved better at taking their chances, converting three of the few on offer. Star had more opportunities but squandered them.
Mitchell Dunstan nailed Corakis first and second in spectacular fashion and Ben Moss put the icing on the cake.
Star came back hard but the match was all but over by the time Vantaggiato found the back of the net.
In the major semi East Lismore rode their luck to win another excellent match 2-1 over minor premiers Ballina. Despite the fact that both sides were missing a few players that took nothing from the games intensity.
Despite a commanding game for Ballinas Peter Taylor, Easts were the first to break the deadlock when Dave Willis scored in the 24th minute. Ballina redoubled their efforts in the second half and it wasnt long before Ryan Kilpatrick slotted an equaliser. After that the game lifted to a frantic pace, and it was only a matter of time until something gave way. Easts benefited from a number of late penalties as Willis converted close to full time.
This puts Easts directly into the grand final. This Saturday Ballina will play Coraki at 5.45pm at Hepburn Park to decide who will be their opponent.
In the minor semi final of the Far North Coast Hockey competition Ballina proved too strong for Northern Star, winning 3-nil. Forced to defend for large tracts of the game, Northern Stars gallant effort suffered as much from the heat as from Ballinas relentless pressure. Alison Parr got the seasiders off to a good start giving them a 1-nil half time lead.
Ballina appeared to get a second wind after the break, scoring twice through Lauren McDonald and Sally Baldry.
In the major semi final Glee were totally outplayed in the first half but weathered the storm to eventually beat East Lismore 2-1.
Easts had one of their better matches but just couldnt maintain the momentum of the first half to overcome their more fancied opponents.
Bianca Tillman calmly slotted Easts goal after they were able to put pressure on Glees midfield. Starved of possession, Glee was forced to defend and their troubles deepened when Stacey Savins caught a sickening blow to the head from a deflection and was taken to hospital.
However, despite the loss of Savins, Glee rallied in the second half with Megan Kendall and Kim Chappell scoring midway through the half to give Glee a stranglehold on the game.
This Saturday Easts will take on Ballina at 4.20pm at Hepburn Park for the right to meet Glee in the grand final.
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