ON THE BALL: Aleisha Thiird  presses downfield for the Sailors during their 4-0 win over Barbs.
ON THE BALL: Aleisha Thiird presses downfield for the Sailors during their 4-0 win over Barbs. Shirleyanne Thompson

Women's hockey heats up as finals loom

HOCKEY WOMEN: The Grafton Hockey Association saw a possible preview of the major semi-final in the women's first grade when competition front-runners McAuley White toughed out a gritty 1-0 win over City Bears.

In one of the most consistent matches of the season, both teams played high-intensity hockey, with up-and-coming Bears goalkeeper Kate Atkin making some excellent saves that kept her team in the match.

Tiahnee Cropper and Caitlyn Pardoe threatened in attack, but were unable to capitalise on the chances they had and were denied by some good scrambling defence from McAuley, who had called upon their second and third grade teams to make up their numbers.

"Jossy Hargans played fantastically for us at left half and she is normally in second grade," McAuley White coach Harrison Smith said.

"It was a very tight game with a lot of attacking opportunities for both teams. It was 0-0 at the end of the first half, it was very competitive and full-on.

"We scored through a solo effort from Ellynie Cameron about 10 minutes into the second half, then we had a short corner overturned against us that we think we scored through, but we ended up with the win in another very fierce and close game."

Smith said the win would give his team confidence heading into the finals in the coming weeks.

The win secures top spot on the first grade ladder for McAuley White, with Bears finishing in second place, followed by Sailors and then Barbs.

In other first grade women's hockey action, Sailors earned a comfortable 4-0 win over Barbs.

Village clinch minor premiership

IN A top-of-the-table clash between Village Angels and Kylies Klassics, Village claimed the second grade minor premiership, in a thrilling 1-0 win.

The tight contest between the two teams is tipped to be repeated when Village Angels and Kylies Klassics face off again in the major semi-final in two weeks' time.