Two Maitland Rams made their mark in the third-placed Newcastle over 35s in the NSW Master Championships.
Coach and striker Nathan Baker and defender Brett Gallagher were part of the 13-man outfit to head to Nowra over the weekend.
Baker was disappointed not to have beaten either of the two teams that historically dominate the competition – Illawarra and Sydney – but was happy with the team’s overall performance.
“It’s always between those two teams, at least in the last two years that I’ve been coming,” he said.
“We had Illawarra first on the Friday night and I had a terrible game, I missed a couple of opportunities.”
“Sydney was the next morning and we just ran out of legs.
“They had five subs and we only had two.
The competition surface proved another hurdle for players outside the region.
The turf had only recently been replaced and had not seen enough hockey to be completely worn in.
“The bounce was really uneven,” Baker said.
“You’d have a ball a couple of inches off the ground jump by a foot.
“Anything that was going hard was easy to trap, but we were struggling with the slower balls because of it.”
Newcastle lost 2-0 to Illawarra and 6-2 to Sydney, but beat Bathurst 8-3, Parkes and Sutherland 4-1.
Sydney won the competition, followed by Illawarra and Newcastle.
Baker said that Gallagher displayed his usual solid form on the field across the weekend.
“Brett played well,” he said.
“They all played well, they’re a pretty good bunch of guys.”
Baker and Gallagher will rejoin the Maitland Rams on Sunday for their match against Tigers at 1.30 at the Maitland Hockey Centre.