HOCKEY: Coraki men secure top spot with a 2-0 win over Star
CORAKI has secured the minor premiership in A-grade inter-city men's hockey and will get to host a semi-final in Lismore next weekend.
In games on Saturday, Coraki defeated Northern Star 2-0 and East Lismore upset Ballina 5-4 in a cliffhanger.
Coraki scored its first goal early in the game when Bailey Powell was given space and made no mistake.
Star defended admirably and was unlucky not to level a number of times.
In the second half both sides were in defence mode.
Coraki lost key player Zach Clarke mid-way through the half after being hit in the stomach with the ball and he was taken to hospital.
That gave Star a slight advantage but it didn't matter, with Dave Brown scoring a soft goal in the final 10 minutes after a simple two-on-one.
It proved enough for Coraki to secure the win.
Ballina looked the likely winner in the other game with a 4-2 lead at half time but they didn't come back in the second half.
Cooper Stahl opened Easts' account early in the game when he deflected a penalty corner shot.
Sam Davis put an end to that with two classy field goals and Easts looked rattled.
JJ Parker deflected a penalty corner shot for a 3-1 Ballina lead.
Justin Donoghue put Easts back in it with a field goal only to have Ballina go out to 4-2 when Smith was given space and he scored with a spectacular back-stick shot.
With a 4-2 lead Ballina must have become complacent because they lost the second half 3-0.
Chris Clark scored for Easts early in the half to narrow the gap then Brad Hughes converted a penalty stroke to tie it up.
Ballina realised they had a game on and started to play some constructive hockey but missed some good opportunities.
Joel Jonson for Easts nailed the winner for East Lismore in the closing minute when he got on the end of a misdirected Zach Harvey pass.
In the semi-finals, Coraki (first) will play Northern Star (fourth) at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, on Saturday, then Barbarians (second) host Ballina (third) at Grafton on Sunday.