Women's hockey team suffers agonising loss

By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au

GLADSTONE'S open women's representative hockey team suffered the agony of losing a state titles final for the third successive year at Bundaberg on Monday.

Gladstone showed superb form to post 14 goals in four games leading into the decider, before suffering a 2-1 loss to Mackay in extra time after the sides were locked at 1-1 after regulation time.

Bianca Nathan opened the scoring for Gladstone before Mackay hit back late with a shot from the penalty spot.

Teams were reduced to nine-a-side during extra time played under drop-off rules, the teams further reduced to seven before Mackay slotted the winning goal.

Despite the disappointment, the women fared better than the Gladstone men's open side which finished seventh in Bundaberg while the city's veteran men had to be content with 10th spot in Ipswich.

Key Gladstone women's player Jill Mathison, who has lined up in all grand final losses, said this year's result had been particularly disappointing after Gladstone were forced to field a younger side for this year's titles.

She said Gladstone had overcome that obstacle and the fact they were less accustomed to playing on artificial turf than teams from the other centres.

'It's really quite devastating to lose another one,' she said.

'We really moulded together as a team ... I was really proud of the girls to go that far, every other team had experience on turf.'

Nathan was outstanding out front for Gladstone, posting two hat-tricks for the carnival and earning shadow selection for the Queensland Country side chosen after the carnival.

However, Mathison said the entire side had played strongly, including former well-known Gladstone player Julie Staples (nee Schnitzerling), now based at Hervey Bay, who turned out for the side.

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