DEFENDING premiers Chatham will tackle Tacking Point Thunder in the Manning hockey men’s division one grand final on Saturday.
This follows Thunder’s 6-5 extra time defeat of Tigers in the final on Saturday.
Thunder looked set to run up a cricket score in the final when they raced to a 3-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes.
But the Tigers fought hard and rallied to level the scores at 4-all at the break.
Thunder captain Jarrod Smith said Tigers’ all-or-nothing change in game plan after the frantic start paid dividends.
“They upped the ante, put some strikers on and the next thing we knew it was even Steven,” he said.
“It was all a little bit frantic out there.”
Smith said it was hard to describe what had gone wrong after his team’s impressive start.
He admitted there were moments of concern when Tigers surged back into the contest.
“Absolutely,” he said.
In the second half both Thunder and Tigers created chances and momentum continually changed.
As the match passed the 20 minute mark of the second half Tigers caught a lucky break and scored to lead for the first time.
Tigers were up 5-4 with less than five minutes left and were on track to record a great come from behind win.
However, Thunder didn’t read the same script and from a penalty corner they made it 5-5, with 1.27 on the clock, forcing the match into extra time.
Smith said his team would be better prepared for the grand final clash against the most experienced team in the competition.
“We probably need to recognise a bit better when things change we need to have a fall back plan to adopt,” he said.
“We probably didn’t have that.”
The drop off rule was applied in extra time and both teams were reduced to nine players, so what had already been a fast open game became even quicker.
Thunder looked in control much of the extra time and with the weight of possession scored in the second section of five minutes to lead 6-5. Tigers needed to score to send the game into golden goal.
Thunder withstood everything Tigers threw at them to book a grand final berth against Chatham Wolves, while for the gallant Tigers side the season was over.
Mitch Patterson cracked three goals for Thunder while Brad Patterson, Ash Grummitt and Ryan Payne also scored.
Matt Pullen scored two for Tigers, with Blake McIntosh, Bailey Pitman and Kye Lewis adding the others.
Pitman and McIntosh were the best for Tigers with Payne, Grummitt and Bryce Philpott the pick for Thunder.