Blues win through to hockey finals
FAR North Coast trio Brett Crawford, Mark Harris and Darryl Hughes are competing in the NSW Over-40 team in the Australian Masters Men's Hockey Championships this week.
The team had a convincing 7-1 win over Western Australia at Ballina yesterday with games continuing at Ballina and Goonellabah today.
Crawford scored the final goal.
Team captain Matt Lobsey, of Grafton, scored four goals to help NSW qualify for the semi-finals.
"WA are a good side and we played well after a slow start; we're gradually building towards finals now," Crawford said.
"Mark (Harris) has strengthened our side and we have a lot of speed up front.
"It's good to find guys out there you haven't played against since you were a teenager but it's definitely serious.
"NSW Masters look after us all week with training and physio and it makes a big difference at the back end of the tournament."
The Blues will play ACT at 9.45am today at Goonellabah.
Queensland are also through to the Over-40s semi-finals after a hard-fought 3-2 win over ACT.
Captain Scott Reid scored the winning goal in the final minute while Jordan Harle and Matthew Hagenbach also found the net.
"I think we showed a bit of that Queensland determination that got us home there at the end," Reid said.
"I'm a defender and I don't normally score too many so it was nice to get one in the net when it counts.
"We've had three wins and a draw and that puts us in pretty good shape at the top of the ladder."
Reid is a surveyor from the Whitsundays with other players from Brisbane, Ipswich and Townsville.
They had a 2-1 win over NSW earlier in the week and are likely to come up against them again in the finals.
"We love the State of Origin battle with the Blues and we've actually lost the past two finals to Victoria so we have a few good rivalries," Reid said.
"We play hard on the field but we enjoy ourselves after the game and we'll have a beer with any of them."
The final will be played on Sunday with games in other divisions continuing until next Friday.