BATHURST were in the hunt throughout all their matches at the Under 18s Boys Hockey Championships but played out a winless campaign on their home turf.
The hosts finished with two draws and three losses from their division two campaign at Cooke Hockey Complex but despite the tough results they avoided relegation.
Bathurst went down 2-0 to eventual grand finalists Grafton on Friday before drawing 1-all with Illawarra South Coast 2 later in the day.
The hosts endured a tough Saturday’s play which consisted of losses to Parkes (1-0) and eventual winners Sydney South (3-0).
As the results would suggest, Bathurst were in the winning frame throughout their matches but couldn’t find the decisive blow.
It left them with a match against the other pool’s fourth place finisher, Canberra, which ended in a 2-all draw.
“We were winning 1-0 against Illawarra South Coast with 30 seconds to go before they equalised,” Bathurst coach Niel Howard said.
“That was a bit of a downer for the boys. Our game against Grafton ended up being the least amount of goals Grafton would score against anyone [excluding the grand final], and our match against them was only 1-0 with two minutes to go.
“Even though we didn’t win the boys were playing really well. We were in the contest the whole time.”
Howard was impressed with the way Bathurst fought against a quality Sydney South squad, who would go on to beat Grafton 2-1 in the final.
“It wasn’t a flogging and they had to work hard for their goals. Corey Mark, who as I’ve said before I believe is one of the best goalkeepers in Bathurst, showed that on the weekend,” he said.
“The other pool was definitely an easier one but you don’t pick and choose that.
“We did everything except put the ball in the goal over the weekend. If we had done that then things would have been different.
“It’s disappointing not to win a game but it’s still a young side.”