Gympie loses under-18 hockey final
INJURIES denied the Gympie under-18 hockey side a real shot at winning division two of the state titles at the Gold Coast last week.
The Gympie side played Maryborough in the final on Sunday and lost 6-1, but coach Dom Stephens said the score would have been a lot closer if the team was fit.
“Four of our best players were injured and could hardly run,” Stephens said.
Stephens’ younger brother Nathan injured an ankle in an earlier match, Daniel Naismith injured a foot, Lachlan Mount an ankle and Drew Wenzel had a groin injury.
“Injuries stuffed our chances,” Stephens said.
But the weekend wasn’t a total disaster for Gympie. As the team finished second in division two, it will be lifted into the top division for 2011.
“That was our main goal, to get the team back into division one,” Stephens said.
“We are happy about the achievement. But it was a bummer losing the final to Maryborough.”
The last time Gympie played Maryborough, they won 1-0.
To reach the final Gympie was unbeaten in their pool matches, playing some top quality hockey.
They beat Brisbane two 4-3, Gladstone 3-0, Gold Coast 1-0, Gold Coast three 10-0, and Sunshine Coast 1-0.
Stephens singled out Codey Warhurst and Lachlan Mount as the team’s best for the carnival.
“Codey was our strongest. He was consistent all carnival while Lachlan Mount was a rock at the back,” Stephens said. “Nathan was good until he hurt his ankle.”
Nathan Stephens was rewarded for his good early form at the carnival with a place in the 2011 Queensland training squad.
His coach said it was a big bonus for his little brother.
“His selection is a reflection on how well the whole team played,” Stephens said. “Without the boys supporting him by playing good hockey, he wouldn’t have made it.
“It is a reflection on the team’s results over the entire season.”
The Gympie side had its most successful year on record. It won the Coulter Shield for the best hockey team in South-East Queensland for the first time, tied first with Bundaberg (Bundaberg finished third in division one) at the Wide Bay Championship and then were runners-up in division two at the state championship.
“In 16 games this season they have only lost twice,” Stephens said.
The coach has thanked all the supporters who came and cheered on the team. “It was great to have so many people at the games,” he said.