Upsets a features of the semi-finals
The grand finalists for the 2009 Sydney Veterans Hockey competition have been decided, and upsets, or almost upsets, were the feature of the day.
In The C Division semi-finals, Glebe continued their dominance of the competition, but were made to work very hard by Sydney Uni, who held them out until very late in the match. Glebe's 1-0 victory gave them a spot in the Grand Final, where they will meet Northern Districts, who finished a distant third to Southern Highlands in the round-robin, but proved too strong on the day, winning 4-1.
In the B Division, Macarthur had gone through the season undefeated, two draws being the only blemish on their record. However in the semi-final, Sydney Uni, last years beaten finalist showed they were not going to go without a fight. Taking the lead early in the first half, Sydney Uni withstood tremendous pressure, before conceding an equaliser with 15 minutes to go in the match
Buoyed by their goal, Macarthur continued to apply pressure on Sydney Uni's defence, even though a draw was sufficient for Macarthur to progress. Sydney Uni came very close to exploiting a defensive lapse, but the Macarthur keeper denied them the chance, before Macarthur slotted the winner with 2 minutes remaining. The 2-1 scoreline was a fair reflection of Macarthur's dominance.
During the season, Northside had kept pace with Macarthur until midway through the second round. Going into the semi-final, they had lost momentum, and this was shown in the dominant performance by Ryde, winning 4-0.
The A Division semi-finals featured two teams familiar with playing semi-final hockey, and two teams who have not made regular appearances in prior years. UNSW encountered a gallant but injury hit Macarthur side in the first semi-final, and were made to work very hard for their 2-1 victory.
In the other semi-final, Ryde showed that they had come to play, by scoring against Sydney Uni in the first 90 seconds. Not satisfied with just one goal, Ryde continued to apply pressure to Sydney Uni all around the park, and were unlucky not to score from several good chances. Sydney Uni can thank their goalkeeper for keeping them in the match, PJ making several brilliant saves throughout the match.
At the other end, Sydney Uni were not as slick in the circle as they had been during the season, and solid defence, lead by their keeper Fraser Larcombe denied Sydney Uni until the last 90 seconds.
Sydney Uni went into Golden Goal extra-time knowing, as the higher placed team, that a draw would be sufficient to see them progress. Both sides continued to attack, and it was Sydney Uni who managed to drive one home with 90 seconds remaining, ensuring they would meet UNSW in another Grand-Final encounter.