Grafton's golden touch at Nationals
HOCKEY: Grafton Hockey Association young guns Jake Lambeth and Tyler Gaddes overcame potentially serious injuries to lift the Under 15 National Indoor Hockey trophy for NSW at Goulburn at the weekend.
Lambeth received what was a suspected fracture just before the tournament but was cleared to play, while Gaddes did minor soft tissue damage when he hyper-extended his elbow during a round match.
Both players fought through the pain, with Gaddes controlling the back court for NSW while his counterpart was lethal on goal, scoring seven across the tournament.
Fellow Grafton hockey junior Grace Young also netted a gold medal at the championships with her undefeated Under 15s Girls side, while association umpire Toby Power was invited to officiate the event.
Gaddes, who secured his second national indoor gold medal at the tournament, said he was impressed with how well his side put it together during the week.
"We all played really well and stuck to the game plan that we were set,” he said.
"We made it more about passing up the field, rather than running with the ball.
"Everyone in that side has played together, so we just knew what to expect from everyone.”
It was a tough tournament for Gaddes who sat out two of his side's wins before making his way back to the bench for the finals.
"It happened in a split second, I fell over another kid and went to brace for impact and managed to hyper-extend my elbow,” he said.
The NSW boys finished the tournament with a goal differential of 66, with Victoria the only team to keep them to single figures in the round games.
It was no surprise to see the two rivals in the final, and despite his side's dominance Lambeth said they were not taking anything for granted.
"We were just cleaning up everyone, but you can never feel too confident,” he said.
"Anything can happen in a final, so we went in to it prepared.”
In the lead-up to the tournament, both boys had helpful mentors, including Olympic gold medallist Brent Livermore.