Benalla’s top men’s side broke a short drought on Saturday by winning the Goulburn Valley Hockey Association’s B-grade premiership over rival SYC.
Upholding Benalla’s proud tradition of four premierships in five years from 2009 to 2014, the win came after a year nurturing junior and inexperienced players to form a strong winning team.
With both teams attacking and defending at a high quality, it was an evenly-fought game.
Benalla’s defence was strong, with goalie Daniel Trevaskis making important saves.
Full-backs Anthony Couche and John Chittick kept SYC out of the circle for most of the game.
The midfield was ably controlled by Nic Nowland, Martin Gillies, Broden Dean and Latham Carroll.
Benalla’s forwards Dane Hansted, Shaun Findlow, Evan Dowe, Alex Dowe, Thomas Hill, Travis Guerra, Rob Dean, Brandon Trevaskis and David McIntyre made strong advances throughout the game, however they were held scoreless at half-time.
The second half was similar to the first, with the supporters on the edge of their seats.
With four minutes remaining Benalla broke through SYC’s defence, with Dowe passing to McIntyre, who fired it goalwards.
A minute later the crowd was again cheering as a pass from the top of the circle by Martin Gillies was deflected in by Shaun Findlow, straight past the keeper and against the backboard.
Benalla determinedly defended against SYC’s renewed attack in the final minutes to take the premiership 2-0.
Meanwhile, the club also attended the recent Goulburn Valley Hockey Association senior presentation night.
The club’s players almost made a clean sweep of the B-grade awards at the ceremony in Shepparton on Saturday.
Winning the umpire best-and-fairest vote across the association is one of the highest achievements for an individual, and for players from both of Benalla’s senior teams to win is a great success for the club and Benalla.
This adds to the under-15 best-and-fairest award won by Benalla’s Perry Plex last weekend.