Traffic jam at top
By JIM CHALLENOR
SIXTH-ROUND JH Williams Premier League men's hockey action reinforced just how close the competition is this year.
There were three draws at the weekend and Allstars upset Mudgeeraba.
At Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, East Lismore bounced back to inflict a 7-0 belting to the hapless Redbacks after leading 2-0 at half-time.
Easts' defence of goalkeeper Nathan Hughes, Raymond Rodda and Matt Currie along with a superb effort by Boyd Hughes and Matt Rodda make it difficult for Redbacks.
Dougal Marshall gave a commanding performance for the losing side along with goalkeeper Shaun Wedd, Stuart Maloney, Adam Jarrett, Trevor Parker and Ian Wassell.
Goal-scorers for the winners were Daniel Hughes (14th, 48th minutes), Dave Willis (52nd, 62nd), Raymond Rodda (41st), Chris Clark (25th) and Darren Smith (65th).
In the standout match of the day, Coraki and the United Vipers toughed out an uncompromising 1-all draw.
Coraki led 1-0 at half-time with a Ben Moss goal after the half-time bell.
Every play was contested with intensity and ferocity.
In the end neither side found enough freedom to exhibit their free-flowing attack, with both goals coming from penalty corners.
Coraki's fill-in goalkeeper Chris Beckham gave an extraordinary performance with solid support in defence from Scott Gallagher, Jason Powell and Simon Brown.
Ben Moss and David Brown were tireless in attack along with Dwayne White and Mitchell Dunstan.
Vipers captain Chris Stuart was an exemplary leader along with Jamie Barrett, Andrew Roatz, Travis and Shannon Johnston, as well as the sick Josh Alcorn, who pitched in when the going got tough in the second stanza.
It appeared Coraki had done enough to win the tight affair until Stuart (66th minute) stepped up to slam home the equaliser.
Ballina and Kingscliff drew 1-all, with both goals coming from penalty corners.
Kingscliff led 1-0 at half-time.
Attack on their minds
However, unlike the Coraki v Vipers match, Ballina and Kingscliff threw caution to the wind and attacked with flair and gusto.
Kingscliff gave an extraordinary performance with eight of the starting line-up out injured.
But the most accolades must go to Kingscliff goalkeeper Sam Laskowski, who did an amazing job in saving many shots on goal and a penalty stroke.
Adam Warbutson was Kingscliff's other stand-out player blitzing Ballina's defence at every opportunity.
Ballina relished having Scott Bovis and Scott Hamilton back in their line-up, but missed Grant Smith's elusiveness.
However the team lacked nothing in constructing attacking raids with Luke McCowan and Jake Baldry popping up everywhere.
And save for some good defence from Ballina goalkeeper Josh Garrett and Wayne and Tony Porter, the scoreline may have been different.
Bovis for Ballina (25th minute) and Wilson for Kingscliff (56th minute) scored.
Allstars caused the major upset at Murwillumbah when they defeated Mudgeeraba 2-1 after leading by the same score at half-time.
In the other Murwillumbah game, Mullumbimby drew with Burleigh 3-all. Mullum's goal-scorers were Adam Gadowski, Abel East and Jason Coughran.
On the Gold Coast yesterday, Northern Star outclassed Capri 3-1. Chris McGuiness scored two goals for Star and Phil Kelly one. In the other game, Labrador belted Alstonville 9-0 after leading 4-0 at half-time.