Tribute match a fitting outcome

THIS week I am not writing about hating anything in sport, in fact I am writing about something I like for a change.

Saturday night I had the privilege to sit on the side line and watch the Ashley Birt Memorial hockey match.

It is the first time in my life I had ever hoped for a draw in a game, even though I barrack for the home side, Cooloola.

The Heat were matched against Maryborough Brothers.

The game was a tribute to Ashley Birt who lost his life in Afghanistan serving his country and is set to be an annual event to remember a good friend and hockey player.

Birty, as he was known by friends, played hockey for both teams during his young hockey career, before joining the army.

Normally both sides have a pretty fierce rivalry on the field, there's not much love lost and the Heat had been on the wrong side of the scoreboard during other clashes this year.

The teams had a lot to play for with finals nearing, but players on both sides should be proud of the spirit in which the match was played.

The game was hard and tough, without being spiteful, and the one-all draw was a good result.

One I had hoped for.

It was a fitting end to a great game. The amazing thing is that both sides had chances to win. Brothers came close to taking a 2-1 lead late in the second half but a goal post denied them when the penalty corner shot ricocheted off the cross bar.

The Heat also had chances.

An open box was missed by Cooloola striker Mitch Kuether with only three minutes left on the clock.

Kuether's shot also rebounded off a post.

It was almost as if Birty was looking down on the game pulling the strings and orchestrating a draw.

At the end of the game both teams came together and awarded Dom Stephens the player of the match award before going to the bar to celebrate a great game and the life of Ashley with onlookers and the Birt family.

It was a great game and a fitting tribute to a great bloke.


Good week

The Gympie Devils have come good at the right time with a 44-0 flogging of Noosa and head to the finals in good form.

Bad week

Enduro star Jemma Wilson breaking both ankles in a motorcycle accident.

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