After a challenging journey to the semi-finals, the Gloucester Panthers have ended the hockey season with a draw.
Despite a hard fought match with a nail-biting quadruple overtime against Wingham on Saturday September 19, the 2-2l stalemate means Wingham advance to the grand final as they finished higher on the competition ladder.
With the shortened hockey season due to COVID, the Manning Valley competition opted to run a straight final, meaning the loser from the semi-final was out of the competition without a second chance for the top prize.
It's been a season for learning for the men's team, with several youngsters playing up from the juniors, and their hard work was evident as they played like a well-oiled machine. The team's newest editions showed no sign of fear as they held their own against a battalion of seasoned players.
It looked as though Gloucester was going to dominate the play until a couple of questionable calls saw them lose a bit of ground, leaving way for Wingham to pocket the first goal in the second quarter.
Gloucester didn't let it get to them and they equaled the score before halftime with a goal by Josh Howard.
Early in the second half, Wingham produced a second goal after a rogue ball made its way to the boards.
Gloucester continued to fight, passing well and playing as a unified front. Before the end of the last quarter, Callum Howard successfully flicked the ball over the players and into the net.
The teams battled it out four times in five minute overtimes, two with nine players and two with seven players but the score remained the same.
Leading up to the semi-finals, Gloucester had only won five games, playing in a combined division two and three. A normal season would have seen them play in a stand alone division three.
Gloucester Hockey Club also had its under 15s playing for a chance in the grand final earlier in the day. They took on the Taree Sharks in another hard fought match but unfortunately, they lost by one goal. A last minute penalty stroke against Gloucester saw the Sharks score to make the final score 4-3