OXLEY High exacted its revenge on Grafton and then accounted for Lithgow to win a spot in the State CHS Hockey Knockout boys final at Newcastle today.
The Richard Willis-coached side was impressive in its quarter and semi-finals.
Against Grafton they were up 6-1 before winning 6-3. They then beat Lithgow 5-3 after leading 5-1 at one stage in the second half.
In both games they were ahead 3-1 at half-time and scored early in the second half to effectively close the game out.
Tamworth High’s girls didn’t fare as well going down to Taree 4-1 in their quarter final.
They were then beaten by Grafton 3-nil in their play-off game. That left the ledger square at 1-all between Grafton and the Tamworth schools after Oxley turned the tables on them for last year’s extra-time loss.
They made sure there was little chance of that happening again, producing an outstanding first half display.
“It’s the best I’ve seen them play. They were really up for it,” Willis said.
They dominated across the field and never let Grafton in the game.
“They would have only had one or two circle penetrations,” he said.
At the other end Oxley created plenty of chances and probably should have been up by more than two goals.
Willis said structurally they changed a few things around, knowing Grafton would be targeting state star Sam Liles, and they executed it well.
Liles was difficult to keep out of the game and slotted three of their six goals.
Alex McKenzie, Joey Holt and Harry Lewin added the extras.
Lewin and Holt both also scored against Lithgow.
Holt scored the first to put Oxley on level terms.
“We were down 1-nil,” Willis said.
“We started pretty poorly.”
“After that the boys clicked into gear and scored some good goals.”
They weren’t as sharp as the morning, and missed a lot of traps and passes, Willis said, but they were still dominant with Liles strong in the middle and Andrew Finch likewise at the back.