VICTORY: Kasey Shannon attempts to get past her Barbs opposition in the Grafton Hockey Association women's A Grade opener.
VICTORY: Kasey Shannon attempts to get past her Barbs opposition in the Grafton Hockey Association women's A Grade opener. Shirleyanne Thompson

Bears strike gold in first game in the women's top grade

HOCKEY WOMEN: City Bears have heralded the next generation for the club with an impressive first round win in Grafton Hockey Association women's A Grade competition.

It was the club's first game in the division after stepping up this season, and it was impressive in patches with Cassidy Chapman notching the only goal of the game to defeat Barbs Helgas 1-0.

It was a tough clash for Bears captain Tammy Power, who still has close ties to the Barbs club, but she was impressed with the efforts of her ragtag group of players.

"We are a bunch of girls who have come together from a big range of ages and abilities to form this side,” Power said.

"We have some girls who very much belong in A Grade and then there are a few who could get away with playing in the third-grade ranks.

"But the commitment has been there from the girls and that shone through.”

State-level junior coach Rick Sampson coaches the side once a week, putting in a structured approach to defence and attacking options.

Sampson could not attend the girls first game on Sunday due to NSW Under 15 coaching commitments, but Power believed he would have been proud of their effort.

"A lot of our players have not picked up a hockey stick in a few years, and the way the games is played has changed a lot in that time,” she said.

"This first game was just about trying to get an understanding for how it all works and to begin to put into practice what we have learnt.

"It might have been rusty in patches, but there were other times when the girls looked really good on the field.

"Rick would have been proud just to see that we have been paying attention to his coaching.”

In other A Grade action a new-look McAuley White, with no fewer than five debutantes, made short work of Sailors Roches Hotel, dispatching its opposition 5-0.

Sailors are also making a return to the top grade in the GHA competition after sitting out for a few seasons, and have employed a good mix of youth and experience to compete in A Grade this year.



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