Star runs riot over Easts
By JIM CHALLENOR IN heat unusual for May, Northern Star started their 80th anniversary celebrations early by crushing East Lismore 8-1 in Far North Coast men??s A-grade hockey on Saturday.
The energy-sapping conditions created a burden that few sides could have predicted.
Star and Easts looked well matched in the first half, but superior adaptation and better organisation allowed Star to bludgeon their opponents into submission in the second.
Matt Currie and Jamie Hetherington are key members of the Easts line-up, with their organisation in the back field essential to the team??s performance.
The loss of Currie before the game with a knee injury highlighted Easts?? frailty.
Simon Mackney??s goal (14m fg) in the first half proved to be their highlight.
Mat Rodda, Hetherington and Chris Clark did their best to create mid-field chances for Nathan and Daniel Hughes, while in defence Anthony Moss, Jason Rodda, Hetherington and goalkeeper Luke Kelso did their best.
But try as Easts did, they could not blunt the effectiveness of Mark Harris.
Harris, whose work out of left field was decisive and exemplary, combined well with Brad Hassett and Thomas Vantaggiato. It gave Star impetus and control of the midfield.
Ryan McGuiness (12m fg), Ashley Waring (29m fg), Vantaggiato (31m pc, 55m fg), James Harmon (47m fg), Mark Albertini (51m fg) and Harris (49m fg, 53m fg) joined in the goal-scoring frenzy.
Star goalkeeper Aaron Head deflated the best of Easts?? attack, even saving a second-half penalty stroke. He had excellent support from Darryl Hughes, Hassett and Vantaggiato.
The second match was played in cooler conditions, with Alstonville and Coraki battling out an entertaining nil-all draw.
Coraki coach Adrian McGrath and captain Chad Morgan led their team by example with fine performances.
Peter Duncan and Jason Conte made the most of their chances created in attack while fill-in ??keeper Craig Brown, Cory Thomas, David Bodley, Scott Gallagher and Morgan maintained a quality defence.
With several players away with the FNC?? Under-17?? team at the State championships in the Illawarra, Troy Cooper, Craig Laserre and Joe Beohm gave Alstonville every opportunity in attack.
In midfield the superfit Bill Beohm, Dean Roberts and Ben Clifford effectively blunted the best Coraki could muster, while in defence goalkeeper Todd Seymour gave a polished display with great support from Graham Bielefeld and Luke Emerson.
Lower grades: Reserve grade: Alstonville 9 d Coraki 2 Northern Star 5 d East Lismore 0. Ballina bye.
B-grade: Northern Star 2 d East Lismore 0, North Lismore 4 d Ballina 2, Alstonville 0 drew with Casino 0, Summerlanders d Coraki on forfeit.
C-grade: East Lismore 4 d Northern Star 1, Alstonville 1 drew with Ballina 1.