Inverell ended six years of state masters championships finals frustration and denied Tamworth a home title fairytale with a golden strike from Wayne Parkinson.
Running onto a cross from Frank White after a searching long ball from deep defence had found White alone up front, Parkinson flicked the ball back past the Tamworth keeper into the right hand side of the goal to secure Inverell a 2-1 win and the Men’s Masters Over 55’s C Division silverware.
“We’re over the moon with that. We’ve played the last six years and we’ve made the final every year and never won it,” Inverell captain Michael Jackson said.
The victory was extra satisfying after being beaten by Tamworth in the Over 50s final last year – by a goal.
It took extra time to split the two sides, who had drawn 1-all in their round game, with scores locked at 1-all at the end of regular time.
Tamworth led 1-nil at half-time courtesy of a penalty stroke to Rick Ambrose and held the advantage until just under 10 minutes to go, when White – perfectly positioned on the left post – leveled the scores.
Enjoying a man advantage, it was a proceed of a couple of minutes of consistent attack from Inverell.
“We’ve got a pretty mobile side. I thought if we were patient and held them out we were a good chance of winning,” Jackson said.
“Where they were good is they’ve got a very good defence and a couple of fast attackers.”
Recognising that, Jackson said they had a plan to try and eliminate their influence, and noted that as the game wore on they were getting heavier in the legs.
Tamworth manager Ian Woodley also eluded to that with a bit of fatigue kicking in.
“A few of us had played far too many minutes in a row,” he said.
“There were a number of blokes who played the whole game.”
He felt Ambrose’s green card in the second half was a turning point.
“When Rick went off we just couldn’t cover. They had all 11 players back and we couldn’t cover them all,” he said.
Understandably a bit sore and sorry, Woodley said his side played some fantastic hockey over the weekend.
“Shane Goodman all weekend covered brilliantly and disrupted brilliantly,” he said.
Danny Kelly was also “amazing” all weekend while Andrew Newman and Ben van Aanholt got through a mountain of work in the midfield.
Paul Topfer was for his efforts over the weekend successful in gaining selection in the NSW 55’s 1’s team.
“He played left inside and scored six or seven goals,” Woodley said.
“He was very dangerous.”
New England’s Paul Marquardt and Mark Waters were meanwhile named in the 2’s and Andrew Myhill and Barry Marshall the 3’s with Neil Clayton a shadow.
Manager Peter Henderson is also a shadow for the 60s.
Woodley said it was great fun playing in a home state championships and noted that all bar one of the side, which was a mix of players in their 50s and 60s and even 70s, still plays regularly.
A few of the side will be backing up for the 50s later in the year, with the 55s the first of five men’s masters teams that will hit the state championships pitch.
Sydney and Newcastle met in the other two finals with Sydney taking the honours in A Division 2-nil after Newcastle had claimed the B Division spoils 2-1.
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