A HUGE day of hockey action at the Bega Valley Fields culminated in a penalty strokes shootout on Saturday.
The A grade clash between the Grand Hotel and United quickly became a spectacle for fans as the game couldn’t be decided even in extra time.
The Grand Hotel claimed the game 3-2 in the shootout.
The A reserve final between Pambula and Candelo also went to extra time, but Pambula scored in the opening minute of the golden point time.
The men’s game also wrapped up neatly with the Magpies scoring a 4-2 win over the Candelo men.
With other matches out of the way, teams and supporters alike descended on the main field to watch the tie-break play in the A grade minor-semi.
Midfielder Nikki Smith said it was great to see a large crowd, but added to the pressure when it boiled down to the penalty strokes.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking lining up for your stroke in front of everyone,” Smith said with a laugh.
The A grade Grand Hotel squad had a “rough year” with numbers, but Smith said the squad was at full-strength on Saturday.
“We have come good at the right time, the last two weeks has been the first time we’ve had our full squad,” Smith said.
It was a tense few minutes for the Grand Hotel team, who were without services of regular goalie Megan Irving.
Regular B grade player Renee Cooper stepped up to the challenge and excelled on Saturday to hold out shots.
“We had a 15-year-old girl step up and play for us and she won it,” Smith said.
“She said on Facebook it was the best moment of her life saving that last stroke.”
The win saw all three Grand Hotel teams advance, with a shock win in the A reserve.
The Tathra Youstabees lost just two games in the season in the A reserve competition, but succumbed to a 2-0 loss to the Grand Hotel ladies.
“Tathra is also last year’s premiers.”
Meanwhile, the men won their match over Pambula 3-1.
There are still two weeks of action to play at the Valley Fields, with preliminary finals this week and the grand final the week after.
Smith said she now favours her Grand Hotel squads as support plays a big role.
“The Grand in the men’s and A reserve are probably the favourite.
“They have the most supporters and it really helps when you’ve got those supporters on the sideline cheering at you,” she said.
Local hockey has welcomed a couple of new teams, plenty of new players and a number of returning players this year.
“Some players have come back after as much as a 20-year break,” Smith said.
The club is now urging everyone to head along to the finals and cheer on the teams