Stick with it kids: Persistence pays off in hockey
IT was nerve-racking for all involved but especially satisfying for Hancock Brothers when they came out on top.
Hancocks' E-Grade boys side won a thrilling grand final on Saturday, overcoming Easts Gold 4-3 in the only extra-time junior game of the day.
But the match was in the balance until Christian Fox-White scored his second goal to break the deadlock. His well-worked goal came with only 30 seconds left in the first period of extra-time.
Hancocks coach Wayne Follett was particularly proud of his young side for two main reasons.
The first was the victory was shared by a group of players who suffered multiple defeats the previous year and stuck with it.
The second reason was seeing the winning goal come from the player who listened to his coach.
"I'm pleased for the kids for the win but I'm more happy for the guys that played last year that came back,'' Follett said.
"Some of the guys played in the D-Grade side that got belted all last year.''
However, their persistence paid off this year, as they joined five kids from Ipswich's Hook-in2Hockey program and improved throughout the year.
"It's a matter of putting time in,'' said Follett, who is a Queensland Masters representative player.
"If you want to put the effort in, you get it back.''
Follett said the young Hancocks side deserved their latest reward having been minor premiers and winning the mid-season final.
"Those guys, they learnt a few things,'' he said, thrilled with how Christian completed the winning goal.
"I've been telling them to go right all year, get to the top of the circle and have a shot. And he did it.''
The coach also praised goalkeeper Matthew Adams for putting his hand up to guard the net when the team needed him.
"We didn't have a regular goalkeeper and he said that he'd play goalkeeper about a week before the mid-season final,'' Follett said.
"And since then, he's enjoyed it. He's just come on in leaps and bounds.''
Matthew was fittingly named Hancocks' player of the final.
After his first premiership guiding the kids, Follett also appreciated help from his assistant coach, Hancocks A-Grade player Ryan Smith.
"He was pretty good throughout the year,'' Follett said. "He was here every Saturday and helped out every-where.
"It was good to have a hockey-minded person to bounce ideas off.''