Men’s Hockey struck out in extra time

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SUHC Men’s 1st Grade went down 4-3 in extra time against minor premiers Norwest on Saturday, August 29. 

The first eight minutes were an even tussle as both sides attacked as best they could.

Strikers were quickly forced into uncustomary errors by the speed and close marking of Tom Lobsey, Chris Boyle and the other forwards, but they benefited from a marginally lower error rate in traps and passes.

Some 20 minutes into the game Strikers scored, and followed this up close to half time with a second goal. SUHC had been frustrated not to be awarded a single short through the half, but could be proud of their achievement in blocking the three or four NWS Strikers.

SUHC supercoach, Scott Barker, and Manager Chris Laird must have excelled themselves at half time, as the team that took the field for the second half produced perhaps the best half of hockey seen for a long time. 

Strikers may have been the better team for the majority of the first half, but Uni were easily the better for almost all the second half.

Some 15 minutes in Uni scored their first goal from a short corner, into the net with a Federer style forehand. Ten minutes later they scored from their second short corner, and were unlucky not to take the lead from a third short soon after.

With about eight minutes to go Sydney Uni staged a great move down the right hand side of the field, and it ended with the ball in the NWS goal. Surprisingly, this goal was not awarded, and NWS received a free hit.

As Uni sought to come to grips with their position, NWS raced from the free hit, worked the ball to the end of the field, earned another short corner and scored. SUHC again equalised from some great team play with just 9 seconds to go.

The 3-3 scoreline meant golden-goal drop-off (5 mins with 9 players, 5 minutes with 7). This approach is much fairer and much more exciting than shoot-outs. Uni needed to score to win.

A stroke was then awarded against Uni, and converted. The end result was that SU lost the semi-final even if they outplayed the minor premiers most of the time.

Credit must be given to coach Scott Barker and the team. SUHC can be proud that this group of players embodies the ideal of being an elite sporting group as well as a great social group.

In the subsequent, SUHC 2nds, who are 4th on the ladder, played Sutho (3rd) for the second time in just over a week.

Last week SU beat Sutho 2-1 with a late goal, but Sutho were definitely out for revenge.

The game was as hard and tough as any Sydney Cup game all season. It went to extra time when SUHC scored late to make it 2-2.

Neither side could score, not even with 10 minutes extra time. Sutho was comfortable with this becasue, as the higher placed team, they progressed as the deemed “winner,” while SUHC’s fate depended on the other semis.

Fortunately 1 beat 6 and 2 beat 5, so SUHC is into the semis as the highest placed loser to play Briars in what should be a tight contest with all four teams very even.

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