In a spectacular end to the season, the Gloucester Panthers Hockey Club were not only able to field two teams in the Manning Valley Hockey competition this year but both teams, a junior under 13s and a senior men's division three side, made it right through to the grand finals in their respective grades.
The Panthers men’s team took to the field on Saturday afternoon (September 15) as the heat of the day picked up. They came up against the Taree Tigers and although the game play was slower, it was certainly an intense game.
Gloucester was the first to strike as play from a short corner saw Mark Coombes pick up a cross and strike it into the goal. The Panthers kept the ball moving cleverly around the back line to keep the Tigers moving.
Gloucester was able to score two further goals, thanks to Warren Beggs to take a significant lead over the opposition. The Tigers struck back with a goal of their own and during the second half, they came hard at the Gloucester keeper with several attempts at goal going wanting.
The Tigers scored a second goal to really put pressure on the Panthers but they were able to hold out to take the premiership.
Earlier on Saturday morning (September 15) the junior Panthers who took to the field against the Sharks; minor premiers for the season and sporting an impressive line up of State players.
Although the Gloucester team has never been successful against them throughout the season, the rookie team has given them a run for their money each time and Saturday's match was no exception. The score line was certainly no reflection of the determination, effort and play they demonstrated.
As the goals slipped away from Gloucester, they put their heads down and dug in, keeping the Sharks fighting for every metre. The final score was 5-0 down but they walked off the field with their heads held high knowing they had done everything they could, proud of their efforts throughout the season.
Their season being capped off during the Manning Valley junior presentation where four of the team received major awards, Justin Battams got the best and fairest across all of the under 13 teams, Elise Coombes received rookie goal keeper of the year and both Nick Maslen and Dean Germon were part of the junior representative team of the year.
It has been a fantastic year for Gloucester's representation in hockey on the wider stage with many of our juniors playing in State carnivals.
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