STRONG CHASE: Action from Barbs Helgas clash with Beaches Seahorses on Brent Livermore Field.
STRONG CHASE: Action from Barbs Helgas clash with Beaches Seahorses on Brent Livermore Field. Shirleyanne Thompson

McAuley White opens interdistrict challenge in style

HOCKEY WOMEN: McAuley White has opened the 2018 GJ Gardner Homes Interdistrict Challenge in the same vein as it closed the inaugural season last year: with a solid victory against Orara Gems.

Despite missing coach Harrison Smith, who had to travel for Far North Coast Premier League on Saturday, McAuleywas unstoppable in the 3-0 win.

Without regular goalie Ella Gilbert for the road trip to Coffs Harbour, McAuley showed little sign of the loss as the side's defensive line stood strong in what was a physical encounter with Orara.

A new-look City Bears also went away to Coffs Harbour for their interdistrict outing, recording a strong 3-0 victory against the top-of-the-table Bellingen Magpies.

It was the first look coach Rick Sampson had at his women's outfit and he was impressed with what he saw.

"These girls just keep kicking goals on the field,” Sampson said.

"We had a couple away, and only had two subs on the bench but everyone really stood up.”

Sailors Roches Hotel also picked up an interdistrict victory against Urunga Stingrays, defeating the visiting side 2-1 on Brent Livermore Field.

Barbs Helgas, who were understrength for their clash against Beaches Seahorses, were the only Grafton side to give up the points in the opening round, going down 1-0.

But it is expected Barbs will bounce back when the tightly contested interdistrict competition kicks back into high gear after a week's break.

McAuley White captain Angie Day said it was great to see the competition with Coffs Harbour teams going strong.

"The scorelines tightened up in comparison to its maiden year,” Day said. "It is good to see the faith and patience both associations have put in to this new competition being justified, with an improving level of competitive hockey.”