AFTER two rounds of Greater Northern Men’s Hockey this week, the South Launceston Suns have widened the gap back to second with wins from both games.
Devonport and Burnie Baptist are tied on points in the squabble for second with a game win advantage over fourth-placed City Marians.
South Burnie recovered a one-goal half-time deficit against City Marians on Wednesday night to take the win in the vain hope of closing the gap to the top four.
The Hawks’ defence covered all of the Bloods’ attacking moves in the second half, with keeper Jarrod Bomford and fellow defender Tom Trevarthan combining well.
Isaac Woo opened the Hawks’ account to level early, with Stuart Bowles tipping the last in for the win.
The Bloods’ Ryan Gates and Liam Grundy worked hard through the midfield throughout the game without the desired result, with Kyle Wescombe slotting their only goal.
The Suns and Tamar took to the park in Launceston to complete their first leg of the double-header for a game that showed a new coach for Tamar and a tougher side to beat as they worked over the Suns.
Keelan Beattie posted the first goal for the game for the Suns in the opening five minutes, but from there the Tamar men took the fight all the way with solid passing moves that left Keegan Popowski in a position to level the score.
Slick team -work from both sides, along with solid direction from Tamar coach Sam Rosetto, gave the assembled crowd a game worth watching.
The Suns’ Kurt Budgeon worked tirelessly around the attacking circle, finding the pads of Bill Shepherd covering the space until the 31st minute, when he threaded the needle to give the Suns the lead at the break.
Fifteen into the second half, Justin Ockerby scored for Tamar to level the scores as the teams battled to control the game at a frenetic pace.
The Suns’ Alastair McBain broke the deadlock with a corner conversion in with ten minutes remaining of the game, to give the Suns a hard-earned win.
The Subbies looked in trouble early in their clash with Queechy Penguins on Friday night as Finn Bailey posted the only goal for the first half, giving the Qs the lead.
The never-say-die Subbies levelled from the stick of Bruce Williams as the game became an arm wrestle that rattled between defences.
The Subbies’ Daniel Hinds found space to beat three players in the Qs’ circle, slipping it past Sam Williams to give them the win five minutes from the final siren.
Burnie Baptist left it to the second half to score against the Smithton Saints, with Saints keeper Dylan Jago scoring a best-on-ground performance for his efforts.
Nick Phillips posted Baptist’s first with just two minutes to go in the second half, with a follow-up from Andrew Ollington in the last minute giving them the win.
Baptist made it two from two for the weekend with a solid four-goal margin over Tamar Churinga. The scores were level as the sides headed to the break, and plenty of hard talk from Baptist coach Matt Selby got the side firing.
The Baptist report card had the usual goal-scoring suspects of Andrew Ollington, Anthony Lockett and Rick Webb along with Michael and Nick Phillips.
The Tamar defensive unit got the accolades of the umpires, with keeper Bill Shepherd taking the top votes over Rob Partridge and Rohan John.
Southern club Derwent import Adam Clifford was the difference between South Launceston and Devonport in a scrappy affair in Launceston.
The Suns had plenty of attack with Subbies keeper Derrick Heathorn getting gloves or pads to most, except the Clifford tomahawk that settled the match in the first half.
The ball bounced from end to end as the sides mounted attacks for the remainder of the game with the defences dominating the play.
City Marians got back on the winners list in defeating Queechy Penguins in Launceston, in a close but scrappy affair peppered with mistakes from both sides.
The Bloods’ Liam Grundy posted the first to put the Qs on the back foot early. The Qs’ Matt Knox levelled in the 33rd minute only to have Grundy post another for the Bloods as the teams headed to the break.
The second half was more of the same scrappy style with neither side able to take control of proceedings.
A Stuart Bowles hat trick gave the South Burnie Hawks the win over the Smithton Saints at Circular Head, despite the best efforts of Saints defenders Nigel Kingston and Joe Coombs.
RESULTS – Round 14: South Burnie 2 d City Marians 1; Burnie Baptist 2 d Smithton 0; Devonport 2 d Queechy 1; South Launceston 3 d Tamar 2.
Round 15 — Burnie Baptist 5 d Tamar 1; South Launceston 1 d Devonport 0; City Marians 2 d Queechy 1; South Burnie 3 d Smithton 0.
LADDER – Suns 39, Subbies 32, Baptist 32, Bloods 28, South Burnie 22, Queechy 10, Tamar 9, Saints 6.
City Marians’ Anton Upchurch tries to catch Queechy’s Stuart Allen as he takes off with the ball in Saturday’s clash at St Leonards. Pictures: GEOFF ROBSON
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