Emus cash in on lapse to take out final
FOR 59 minutes and 45 seconds, Urunga Raiders were the dominant force in Saturday night's A Grade Women's hockey grand final.
But after playing second fiddle in their previous five clashes during the season, Orara Emus sensed a 15-second lapse in concentration by their rivals midway through the second half, allowing Helen Donn-Patterson to drive home the goal that sealed an unlikely 1-0 premiership victory.
How the Raiders weren't up two goals or better by half time is anybody's guess.
Both teams made a nervous start and displayed a tendency to spray the ball around but Urunga quickly found their momentum and came close to scoring in the 10th and 14th minutes, only to botch the final drives inside the circle.
Against the run of play, Orara made their own narrow miss but appeared to be lacking the edge in speed and control.
They made three replacements with players who'd taken part in an earlier decider, yet still managed to keep the scoreboard empty.
Twice Urunga were offered penalties in front of the circle they couldn't do anything with ... then everything changed in the 48th minute.
Orara received a penalty and Urunga rushed up quickly to defuse the danger, only to be left in despair as two switches of the ball found Donn-Patterson with a clear shot at goal.
In the final minutes, Urunga tried desperately to even-up. They received chances from penalties on four occasions but somehow, the underdogs hung on for an amazing result.
Meanwhile, the recriminations may be about to escalate after the Southside club's misadventures in both Men's A Grade grand finals, with a letter to the editor in Saturday's Coffs Coast Advocate stirring the pot.
In the game set down for Coffs Harbour, Redbacks made the decision to forfeit, handing the premiership to in-house rivals, the Sharks.
And to compound what many are describing as a farce, the top side headed north with high hopes for their showdown with City Bears in Grafton, only to be confounded by some inspired play from opposing goalkeeper, Dean Broomhall.
2008 GRAND FINALS
Womens A Grade
Orara Emus 1 (Helen Donn-Patterson) def Urunga Raiders 0.
Mens A Grade
Southside Sharks receive forfeit from Southside Redbacks.
Womens A Reserve
Orara Osprey 2 (Kiona Moseley, Helen Moseley) def Legendz 0.
Mens B Grade
Southside Huntsmen 1 (Brett Fisher) def Northern Ales 0.
Womens B Grade
Urunga Blue Fins 2 (Ellie Parker, Judith Thorn) def Orara Owls 0.
Mens A Grade (in Grafton)
City Bears 3 (Mitchell Lollback 2, Matt Harmon) def Coffs Southside 0.