Trust every available mate.
That was Newcastle’s mantra throughout the Hockey NSW Under-13 Boys’ State Championship at Sir Neville Howse Stadium, and it bore fruit as they held off Parkes to win Monday’s final 1-nil and claim the division one title.
“Take the first letter of each of those words and it spells team obviously, and that’s what we were about,” Newcastle coach Rob Henderson said.
“The boys trusted each other all weekend and trusted the structure we had in place too, and came away with the chocolates. I’m absolutely stoked.”
After running through the pool stage undefeated then downing Illawarra South Coast 4-2 in the semi-final, a Lachlan Lidbury goal early in the first half proved the match-winner in the decider.
He put the Novocastrians one goal ahead not long into the game before his side continually turned away the gallant runners-up, including stifling Parkes’ final opportunity on the last play of the game by keeping a short corner out.
“I think my nerves were far worse than the boys’ (during the final),” Henderson laughed.
The boys trusted each other all weekend and trusted the structure.Newcastle coach Rob Henderson
“These boys, they just don’t know how to lose and I can’t give them enough praise.
“We came here with the championship in mind but we don’t have an indoor competition back home, so to come away and do this after the field hockey championship where we finished joint champions with Parkes I think it shows the character of the boys.”
Parkes were also superb throughout the tournament, undefeated until the decider.
The Lachlan-based side had trumped Sydney South (5-2) in the semi-final, after preliminary stage wins over Tamworth (2-1), New England (5-0), Illawarra South Coast (3-1) and North West Sydney (3-nil).
Sydney East and Port Macquarie Hastings played out a thrilling 3-all draw in the division two decider, while Goulburn completed their undefeated division three win with a massive, 10-nil, grand final drubbing of Northern Sydney and Beaches.
With a narrow victory over Illawarra South Coast in the fifth-place play-off Orange finished its division two campaign on a high.
Orange downed the southerners 4-3 in their final game of the 2018 tournament to finish fifth, the result backing up a strong preliminary stage in which they only lost one game.
That defeat, to Port Macquarie Hastings (5-2), came in their tournament opener.
After that they they earned draws with Coffs Coast (6-all) and Dubbo (2-all) and notching their first win on Sunday afternoon, trumping Sydney East 3-2 to finish third in pool B.
Orange’s development side, contesting division three, put its best foot forward across the three-day tournament, but did have a tough time of things against older opposition.
They improved across the competition though, and finished their campaign with a 5-1 loss to Metro South West on Monday morning.
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