Inaugural hockey championship held

The inaugural South Eastern Eagles Zone Championship was held in Naracoorte on Saturday where the Lower South East, Naracoorte, Tatiara and Riverland Hockey Associations clashed.

This tournament is part of the new process Hockey SA has implemented to give all junior hockey players an equal opportunity as their city counterparts.

Up to 120 athletes took part filling teams in both boys and girls grades for ages Under 15’s and 18’s.

The Lower South East Association took four teams to the event which started at 8.30am with the Under 15 boys taking to the pitch against Naracoorte.

After a bit of a slow start they eventually found the net and came away with the 3-0 win.

Next it was the Under 15 girls’ turn to face Naracoorte and it took a while before finding the goals.

Having plenty of the attack and withstanding anything that Naracoorte put forward, the LSEHA won 1-0.

Next both teams faced the Tatiara outfits and once again the Lower South East showed its strength, cruising to triumphs.

From the outset, the Under 18’s boys contest against Riverland was going to be a tough game.

Despite the back and forth play the Lower South East managed to come away with a hard fought win at 1-0.

The girls enjoyed plenty of the play against Riverland and had many scoring opportunities but the opposing defence worked overtime.

Riverland managed to repel each attack and counterattack themselves until the scoreboard read 0-0 at the final whistle.

Naracoorte was the next opponent and the LSEHA sides showed their strength and cohesion.

The boys came away with a 6-0 win, while the girls had to do it the hard way.

After leading for most of the game, Naracoorte evened the score with less than a minute to go, putting the game into sudden death one-on-one penalties.

With the attackers finding the net and the goal keeper standing strong, the LSEHA won 4-2.

This finished the minor rounds and the Lower South East was lucky enough to have all four teams go into the grand finals.

While the weather turned as the daylight faded, the quality of the competition certainly heated up.

The finals showed why LSEHA is the powerhouse of the Limestone Coast with all four teams coming away with convincing wins even the rain slowed things down.

After a long day of outstanding hockey, the Lower South East took away the bragging rights and the trophies.

While the tournament is in its infancy it was well received by all those who attended and will be locked in as an annual event with the possibility of expanding the teams involved.

A training squad will now be selected to take part in a special training camp in the Riverland in July.

From this camp a team will be selected to travel to Adelaide at the end of September to do battle with four other zones, including three from the metropolitan region.

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