Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Royal Performance Gives Bears a Scare

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Royal Performance Gives Bears a Scare

Article excerpt

Byline: GARY NICHOLS nicosport23@yahoo.com

CITY Bears edged out a gallant Royals side 3-1 in the A grade men's hockey top-of-the-table clash in Grafton on Sunday night.

Both teams were tentative throughout the first half, with turnovers and imprecise passing causing headaches for both coaches.

The game swung back and forth with neither side able to maintain the ascendancy for long periods.

The game suddenly came alive with the introduction of Bears captain-coach Dave Dart, who made an immediate impact. His probing runs created space for his talented forward line. With the scores locked at nil-all and the hooter about to signal halftime, Bears player Liam Ellis flicked the ball past the goalie to put his side ahead 1-0.

Royals coach John Taylor knew his team was well in the game and believed an upset might be on the cards. His advice at the break was to utilise Nick and Jamie Lane and to look for deflections in the circle.

Three minutes into the second half Jamie Lane found himself unmarked and fired the ball at goal, only to see it go agonisingly close, drawing moans from Royals supporters.

Dart continued to menace the opposition with skill and pace, and it was only a matter of time before he forced a penalty corner. From the ensuing corner the ever-reliable Mark Pollock drag-flicked the ball like a tracer bullet past the out-stretched goalkeeper.

Holding a commanding 2-0 lead the flood-gates could easily have opened, but Royals showed plenty of determination against the slick Bears.

Royals' star left-inner, Rhys Henwood, attracted plenty of attention from the Bears' defence and was taken-out several times when in possession. The umpires ran out of patience and awarded a penalty corner with 10 minutes remaining.

Royals were desperate for a goal to keep them in the game, and Jamie Lane answered the call and slotted the ball into the right-hand corner of the net to put his side within striking distance. …

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