The only thing more prevalent than the ice-cold winds on Saturday was fantastically close games of hockey in the opening round of finals.
Officials said the ladders had been close to call heading into the opening round of finals play on Saturday, and fans were not disappointed by the results.
Organisers were delighted with the games throughout the day with the only blowout result going to the Elders B grade roster, scoring a 7-0 win in their clash.
Other games had been hotly contested with a handful of 3-0 results finalised in the dying stages of play, when it could have easily gone to a 2-1 result.
Under threat of rain and battling through the near-constant gusts of wind, teams showed fantastic resilience, determination and even mustered classy attacking runs.
Gusts were so strong that one of the goals was blown over at one point, during play in the Magpies and Grand game with Candelo players rushing to put the net back up with no impact on play.
The game between the Magpies and the Grand Hotel men was a particular spectacle as the only senior game decided by a penalty shootout.
The Grand had scored early in the second half off a fantastic set play crossing through space to a player waiting in the wings to lead 1-0.
But the Magpies weren’t going to go down easily and levelled the scores soon after with play focused through the middle in a back-and-forth battle.
After a scoreless set of play in extra time, it came down to the shootout, with the Magpies scoring well to win 3-1.
Earlier Josie Pearson starred for the Grand Hotel B grade after the game came down to a penalty shootout with the young goalie charging off her line to stop strikers short of the back-board.
In other senior play, the Grand secured a 3-0 win over the Babes and Elders held the same scoreline over United in the combined A grade women’s matches.
The Grand had taken a 2-0 lead at the break with some accurate shooting at the goalbox off corner plays, with Lisa Griffin getting the team its first goal.
The Babes had mounted a few attacking runs, but were denied by a stoic defensive effort from the Grand.
It was a similar turn of play for Elders, who officials had been the standout team throughout the season getting a 3-0 win over United.
The second men’s game saw Pambula getting over Candelo in a great display of speed and skill on Saturday.
Organisers commended all the teams and wished luck to those advancing to grand finals and play this weekend.
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