Two titles for Stratford hockey

Northern United VS Hawera
Northern United VS Hawera

The Stratford Hockey Club pocketed two titles last weekend.

The Brian Darth Funeral Services Stratford Men's A team survived a tough final to achieve a third successive Premier Men's hockey title. Up against a fired up and in form New Plymouth Boys High School side, Stratford knew this would be a tough afternoon.

Attacking the mountain end first Stratford started with purpose. Pressure quickly led to Lesley Longstaff turning the defence and calmly slipping the first goal inside the left post. An incident on the halfway line had one player from each team in the sin bin.

NPBHS VS Stratford Premiership
NPBHS VS Stratford Premiership

With a five-minute period of 10 vs 10, NPBHS adapted better and swung onto attack. A free hit inside the 23 had ex-Blackstick Ben Collier dribble across the circle and slip a bobbly ball at the keeper, with a tap in for the equaliser.

Scores tied up 1-1 at half time. In the second half, Stratford's defence was repeatedly tested, but led by a fine game from Kieran Harrison, play ranged from end to end.

NPBHS VS Stratford Premiership
NPBHS VS Stratford Premiership

NPBHS continued to confront Stratford's defence and when a penalty corner was awarded, they went ahead through a drag flick. Stratford was awarded a corner and Curtis Boyde banged home a reverse shot for 2-2.

Man of the Match Scott Williams moved up a gear in the second half and started to break the NPBHS defence with a mix of skill and pace. Stratford gained another PC and went ahead with an option right and Jayden Roodbeen calmly slotted into the back of the cage.

Masters Women's Te Kiri play Hawera 2 Premier Women's during the final.
Masters Women's Te Kiri play Hawera 2 Premier Women's during the final.

Stratford was defending stoically, but when a corner was awarded, NPBHS drew level. With Stratford forcing another PC, Williams scored with a powerful direct shot, 4-3 with 10 to play. With two minutes to go, NPBHS again forced a PC and scored from another drag flick. Full time, scores level 4-4.

Sudden death extra time of seven minutes could not separate the teams and the crowd was treated to a shootout - eight seconds. Keeper Chris West made three great saves to give Stratford a lead. Ethan Lehmann steps up, ice in his veins and with a big left-to-right drag, slotted past the keeper.

Stratford claimed a third title in a row. A fine spectacle - wrapping up a successful season.

Premier Men Stratford Broadway VS Masters 2.
Premier Men Stratford Broadway VS Masters 2.

In the Men's Championship Final, Le Dejeuner Broadway took on New Plymouth United Masters in what was to be a repeat of last year's final. Having lost all their encounters against Masters over the season, a big effort was going to be needed if they were to retain the championship.

Broadway set the standard from the first whistle with strict control and discipline, strong attack and defensive plays to take a 3-1 lead at the half. Broadway continued their dominance and control of the game in the second half to secure back-to-back championships. Final score 3-2.

- Stratford Press

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