Express ride to grand final
SATURDAY afternoon saw last year's grand final replay between Southside Redbacks and Sawtell Cougars in men's A grade.
The game had everything.
A first half of fast and skillful hockey by both teams and a second half of hard slog and niggle.
Redbacks controlled play early and were rewarded through a great individual goal through Captain Heath Edwards.
Shortly after, a short corner to Redbacks saw a great deflection from Reece Edwards to take the score to 2-0.
Shortly before half time some fantastic teamwork by Redbacks saw four players work together and Jack Partridge finish off the movement with a goal.
The 3-0 half time score did not reflect the closeness of the first half.
Cougars played strongly with Ryan O'Connor and Jeremy Wilson the stand outs.
The second half was fiercely contested and saw Redbacks hold on to win 4-2.
Redbacks finished the game with nine men following two late yellow cards and Cougars were also a man down for 10 minutes during the second half.
Both teams will be looking to be more disciplined at their next meeting.
In the other men's A grade game, Urunga Thunda came within a whisker of beating the more fancied Southside Sharks.
Sharks hung on to record an important 1-0 win in their quest for a top two spot.
The game was even throughout with Thunda having their chances.
The loss by Thunda will make it extremely hard for them to sneak into the top four with only a few rounds remaining before the semi-finals.
This weekend sees the top of the ladder Southside Redbacks taking on Urunga Thunda tonight at 6.30pm.
On form Redbacks would be expected to be too strong, although Thunda have nothing to lose and are expected to come out strong.
The remaining Men's A Grade game will be between Southside Sharks and Bellingen Humble Legends at 1pm on Saturday.
Sharks need a win to pressure Sawtell for second place and Humble Legends likewise need a win to cement their top four spot.
Sharks will go in slight favourites, although the game is expected to be tight.
Sawtell Cougars have the bye.
Men's B grade
Last Saturday saw Bellingen Wombats take on their stable mate Bellingen Numbats in a game Wombats were expected to win.
However, a committed effort from Numbats saw the final score of 1-1.
In the other game played, last season premiers Northern Beaches were too strong for Southside Huntsmen running out winners 3-1 after Huntsmen fought back to level at 1-1 during the second half.
Northern Beaches have the minor premiership wrapped up and look the goods to win back to back premierships.
The clash of the round this weekend will be between Bellingen Wombats and Southside Huntsmen.
Wombats would go into the game favourites on recent form, although have been finding draws to their likely in recent games.
Women's A grade
WOMEN'S A grade returns this week following a two week spell caused by wet weather and State Championships.
Tonight, Norths Tigers take on Sawtell Cougars in a game both would like to win.
Cougars have been a little hot and cold of late and North Tigers will be out to get on top early.
Tigers are tipped to win.
Saturday afternoon will see the clash of the round and a game which will have a large bearing on the minor premiership.
Bellingen Angels take on top of the ladder Orara Owls with both teams capable of winning.
Owls have dominated of late, although Angels may be a little too strong for them.
In the remaining game, Raiders have the chance to earn four competition points when they take on Legendz.
On form Raiders will start clear favourites and will win.
Men's Super League
IN men's Super League last weekend, Southside Coffs Harbour travelled to Grafton to take on fourth placed Grafton Royals.
The late withdrawal of key players Dean Ball, Jarrod Gorringe and Reece Edwards saw the local team up against it from the start.
However, Southside showed depth to maintain great control in the early stages of the match.
A goal against the run of play to Royals mid way through the first half was a set back to Southside.
Southside dominated the Royals half for over 90 per cent of the first half and the 1-0 lead to Royals did not reflect the game.
A penalty stroke to Royals mid way through the second half awarded after the ball hit a Southside foot when clearly missing the goal made it tough when Royals converted to go to a 2-0 lead.
Royals defended strongly and deserved their 2-0 win in the end.
The game was one of lost opportunities with Southside the clearly dominate side with in excess of eight short corners going unconverted.
Heath Edwards for Southside was a stand out and supported by inners Chris Shipman and James Bellamy.
Chris Herraman worked hard up front with Dean Herbert.
This weekend see Grafton Barbarians travel to Coffs Harbour to take on Southside Coffs Harbour in a must win game for Southside.
A win will assure them a place in the major semi final in early September.
Barbarians are last season's premiers and have nothing but pride to play for.
Southside are hopeful to be at full strength and will be determined to put last week's loss to Royals behind them.
The game will commence at Marshalls Hockey Complex Coffs Harbour at 1.30pm on Sunday.
Last weekend there was no play in the majority of women's hockey divisions due to the State Veterans Championships in Taree.
A catch up game in Women's B grade was played last Friday night between top of the ladder Southside Doorsplus and Bellingen Young Angels.
Doorsplus dominated from the start and came away with a strong 3-0 win.
Young Angels showed a great deal of fight and have some talented girls in their team.