A STRONG second half helped St Pat’s White to Bathurst Men’s Hockey Association first grade glory on Saturday, beating club-mates St Pat’s Blue 6-2.
After a hard fought first half at Bob Roach Field in which both teams enjoyed their share of chances, White and Blue were locked at 2-all.
In the second half the rivals continued to notch up circle penetrations and shots on goal, but it was White who better converted.
Tyler Willott finished with a brace for the victors, while Jaden Ekert, Isaac Darlington, Justin Mellor and Luke Thorncraft found the mark as well.
While White finished the regular season as the minor premiers, Blue were the first team through to the decider thanks to a 3-2 extra-time win in the major semi-final.
It was Blue – the defending champions – who struck the first blow of the decider as well in the seventh minute when Brent Naylor finished after a nice right-left drag.
Blue goalkeeper David Clews came up with a superb diving stick save to stop White soon after off the first penalty corner play of the match.
Down the other end White goalkeeper Lachie Martin also had his moments, stopping a curving Brad Cooke salvo as both sides battled for control.
At the 20 minute mark White was back on level terms when Ekert blasted a shot into Clew’s glove which still had enough momentum to see the ball get over the line.
The final three minutes of the first half were hectic as Blue’s Trevor Weal made a clearance as the ball rolled towards his net.
Play then went down the other end where Blue earned a penalty corner and a Riley Hanrahan drag-flick put his side 2-1 up.
Then, 13 seconds from time, Mellor struck for White to level things at 2-all.
Eight minutes after play resumed White took the lead for the first time after a frenetic penalty corner play. Thorncraft’s original shot was saved, Willott struck the post as he won back possession then Darlington tucked away the rebound.
Blue had its chances to equalise as Naylor hit the post, Kel Cooke was denied in a one-on-one with Martin and Aaron Schumacher made a diving clearance off the line.
Those missed chances hurt.
With 12 minutes left White drew out Clews to the right of the circle then crossed to Willott who was waiting unmarked with an open goal ahead of him. The young talent made no mistake.
Thorncraft found the mark four minutes later as he pounced on a deflection to make it 5-2 before Willott sealed the result with 95 seconds remaining.