A missed opportunity.
That was how Tamworth 1s coach Greg Doolan’s reflected on his sides State Under-18 Boys Championship campaign at Bathurst on the weekend after they were consigned to eighth.
“We threw a semi-final opportunity away,” he said.
Doolan wasn’t with that remark referring to one particular game but rather a weekend that didn’t reach the heights he had hoped, or expected.
“They all played well in patches but we probably as a team weren’t consistent enough,” he said.
Their first game against New England on Friday was the perfect example. Leading 3-1 at half-time the Frogs “came out and threw too much ball away” and the Lions managed to get it back to 3-all.
A 2-1 win over Central Coast kept Tamworth’s finals hopes alive going into Saturday.
“Saturday was disappointing. We didn’t play well,” Doolan said.
Facing Metro South West (1) first up they played the second half of the second half with only 10. Down 1-nil at the time, in chasing the game a player down the score blew out to 3-nil.
Their final pool game was against Sydney East.
“We were very soft in the first half and were down 2-nil at half-time,” Doolan said.
Needing to win to have a chance of making the semi’s they came out with a lot of intent in the second half, and courtesy of Harper Galvin got back on level terms with four minutes to go.
Finishing strongly they “had a golden opportunity” to go 3-2 up with two minutes left on the clock. But they couldn’t convert it, and instead Sydney East ended up scoring.
They then struggled to get themselves into their play-off game against Far North Coast on Sunday going down 4-nil.
Doolan also coached the 2s side, which had a tough weekend but managed to hold their place in Division 2 with a 1-nil win over Illawarra South Coast (2).
A “very young side”, he was happier with how they performed.
“I was very happy with the way they progressed over the weekend,” he said.
“They developed a lot more.”
They saved their best until last.
“We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities to come away with the match, although it took us until the last three minutes,” Doolan said.
New England were the best performed of the northern sides.
In their first year competing in the top division they made it through to the semi-final where they went down to Newcastle 6-nil.
It was their only loss for the weekend after beating Central Coast (1) 2-1 and drawing with Tamworth (3-all), Sydney East 1 (2-all) and Metro South West (1-all).
From the glimpses he saw of them Doolan, who is the Hockey NSW’s Northern Inland Regional Coaching Coordinator, said they fought hard, defended well and really played as a team.