HockeyPats too strong for Panthers

ST PATS’ BEST: Panthers players Shaun McSorley, Nathan Mitchell and Keegan Craig (on the ground) team up on Pats’ Matt Naylor.
Nanjing Night Net

WHEN it comes to the men’s Premier League Hockey competition, no side has been as consistently strong as the Lithgow Panthers over the years.

However, on Saturday when they went down 6-nil to St Pats at Bob Roach Field in the 2015 grand final, Panthers skipper Trent McDonald freely admitted the Saints were a class above.

Panthers had been hoping for their ninth premiership crown, but instead the Saints were doing the celebrating at full time.

Looking back, the Panthers had done well to make it to the grand final.

After winning the premiership last year, several of their star players retired and all through the year they have battled with injuries.

Even on Saturday, they went into the game without two of their star players Ron Charlton and Brandan Horner who were unavailable.

“St Pats have been the best side all year, they really are the benchmark, and they were just too good today,” McDonald said.

While gracious in defeat, McDonald also acknowledged the efforts of his team-mates.

Goalkeeper Mitch Britton made a string of brilliant saves against the best attacking side in the competition, while Travis Cameron was unlucky not to score the opening goal of the grand final.

Cameron blasted an attempt from the top of the circle which beat Pat’s goalkeeper Travis Cartwright, but struck the post.

“If that went in it could have been a bit different, but I just think they are too strong.

“They are really fit, fast and well structured, they were just way too good,” McDonald said.

“I think that is 14 out of 16 grand finals we have played in, so I am extremely proud of the boys.

“We lost seven or eight [players] from last year, so while we really didn’t compete today, to get in [the grand final] again was really great.”

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