HOCKEY New England’s Under 15 boys’ side might not have won their State Indoor Championship in Maitland recently but they came away with two achievements.
The Blair Chalmers-coached side maintained its Division One ranking while also winning the “Play The Whistle Award”.
HNE publicity officer Denise Doughan said those two successes made the weekend a positive for the young and blossoming competition.
“Throughout the weekend all Blue Lions players displayed great determination and game execution under the very testing physical environment they found themselves in,” Doughan said.
“Special mention goes to Will Brissett who played outstandingly well in the goals and Justin Hickey who was very strong in the backs.”
The Blue Lions also played undermanned.
The side originally had nine players but, unfortunately, two players had to withdraw and the team only had one substitution for the whole weekend.
“Most other teams have three or four as the game itself is fast and tends to drain players physically and mentally,” Doughan said.
“However, the boys did not let this setback deter them from matching the talent and numbers of the best indoor teams in the state.”
In the first game the team competed against last year’s champions and this year’s eventual winners, Illawarra.
The Blue Lions lost 7-0 but learnt a lot from the contest and implemented some of Illawarra’s strategies in future games.
Next up was Newcastle, the Blue Lions coming back from a 3-1 half time deficit to win 4-3.
Day two saw the Blue Lions lose 7-4 to Tamworth and to Lithgow 8-4 in a physical game.
During the Lithgow match, one of the Blue Lions, Donovan Chalmers, succumbed to a shoulder injury which impacted on the players by not being able to rest during the second half as no substitutions were available.
They lost their final-day playoff for seventh against Central Coast 6-2.