End of hockey era

Tomorrow marks the end of an era in Coffs Harbour men's hockey

The local men's B grade Grand Final on Saturday will see the end of an era when the Southside Redbacks play their last game in the local competition.

The team was formed in 2002 as an additional B grade team as a father and son combination with an objective of bringing through junior players into the senior grade.

Well the objective was achieved and on the way the team has proven very successful with three premierships in a row.

They are favoured to go out on a high note with their fourth grand final this weekend, although like most sports they will have to stand up and be counted to win against the strong Sawtell team.

With many of the junior players now coming through into the Southside men's A grade team which participates in the Grafton A grade men's competition, the 2006 season will see this team stepping up to the challenge in Grafton.

Families to be involved in the team over the past four years include Graham and Owen Robinson, Simon and Chris Shipman, Garry and Kieren Marshall (although Garry now stars for Urunga, Kel & Kurt Wilton, Wayne, Garreth, Heath and Reece Edwards (with other son Joshua a part of the 2002 winning team).

In addition, James Bellamy, Pat Brennan, have joined original team members Alan Crouch (Australian over 60's goal keeper) and Jack Partridge which has provided a blend of youth and experience.

The Redbacks team would like to pay special mention to our club's other B grade team Sharks who have been competitive over the past four years, one in which they played Redbacks in the Grand Final.

They have had a great 2005 given the lack of playing personnel on occasions and were knocked out of this year's competition by Sawtell last Saturday.

It may be sometime before a team in the Coffs Harbour Association can boost such a great playing record, although the objective of improving our junior players is one the club is more proud of than the winning games.

This is the final weekend of local hockey for this winter season with Grand Finals being played in all grades this Saturday.

Games get underway at 12:30pm with Men's C grade where Northern Beaches play Southside Huntsmen.

Women's A Reserve is at 1:45pm and is a re-match of the major semi final with minor premiers Bellingen Slick Chix taking on Orara Owls.

Owls had a convincing win over their fellow club side Ospreys last weekend to secure them a place in the Grand Final and this match could go either way.

Women's B grade is at 4:15pm with minor premiers Northern Beaches playing Southside Doorsplus in what promises to be a close match.

These teams finished one point apart on the competition ladder and in the major semi final Southside defeated Beaches.

Last weekend Beaches had a convincing win over Sawtell so this is a match to watch.

Men's B grade is at 3pm when minor premiers and favourites Southside Redbacks take on Sawtell Cougars.

Redbacks are no doubt favourites but underdogs Cougars should not be forgotten.

Women's A grade will be played at 5.30pm when minor premiers Bello Angels will take on Norths Tigers in the final match of the day.

Angels will be hard to beat but Tigers will be in there fighting hard.

Presentation of all trophies and awards will be at the conclusion of the last match of the day, approximately 7pm.

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