Brian Darth Funeral Services Stratford Premier Men's Team finished the season on a positive note, winning a tight game against New Plymouth Boys' High School 1st XI.
It started with NPBHS rushing out of the gates and pressing high, rattling the Stratford defence and dominating the first quarter.
Stratford, as they have all season, composed themselves and set about imposing themselves on the game. Chances were created and only a number of great saves by Boys' High goalie Michael Lobb stood in the way of a substantial lead.
Ethan Lehmann claimed the only goal of the first half, pouncing on a loose rebound from a penalty corner. Penalty corners dominated the third quarter with Liam McSweeney having an outstanding game producing some stunning saves, including the patented sliding helmet save.
A couple of special John Neild saves off the line kept the Boys' High PC combinations scoreless. Ethan Lehmann unleashed another drag flick and 2-0 looked like a solid lead.
But the final quarter became a big scramble, NPBHS scoring from a stroke and Stratford defending stoutly to claim third place with a 2-1 win.
Being the only team in the Stratford Hockey Club to make it to finals day, the Broadway Men had a lot to play for on Saturday in the Taranaki Hockey Championship Men's final – for the sixth year in a row they have been there.
They came up against top-of-the-table Masters Men who Broadway had beaten twice in two tight games and drawn once leading up to the final.
It was always going to be a tightly fought battle with end-to-end hockey, and both teams proving threatening on attack and solid on defence.
This locked the teams at nil-all going into the break. Broadway finally broke the deadlock with a quality send into the circle beautifully deflected in by Rhyley Coles, who has served Broadway well all season in this role.
Unfortunately, Masters answered that with two goals of their own with 12 minutes to play. With the aim of drawing level, Broadway substituted their goalkeeper to bring another player into the attack.
They tried valiantly to find the back of the net, coming close several times, only to be kept out time and time again by no other than Broadway's 2021 keeper Chris Kempson.
Masters have now won the last two Championship Men's finals. Broadway are vowing they won't get a third in 2023.