Young Lions handle class rise in Tamworth

THEY were only a late promotion but New England looked far from out of place up in Division 2 at the State U15s Boys’ Hockey Championships played in Tamworth on the weekend.
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New England’s Nathan Czinner works to keep the ball away from the North West Sydney (2) defence. Photo: Samantha Newsam 300516SNA06

Spearheaded by State U15s reps Nathan Czinner and Jake McCann, the Lions finished fifth overall after beating Southern Highlands 2-1 in their play-off game onSunday.

“We were a very young side,” coach Paul Eichorn said.

“We only had three U15s in it so it was a very good effort.”

Three of the side will go away with the 13s later in the year.

“The intent there was to give them a good run before their tournament,” he said.

After finishing runners-up in Division 3 last year, they thought they’d be playing there but they found themselves playing up a division.

Eichorn had been hoping to make into the semi-finals but was more than satisfied with fifth.

They finished with three wins from their five games and had good pool wins over Nepean (3-nil) and North West Sydney (2) (4-nil).

“Defensively, overall we were pretty good,” Eichorn said.

When they conceded goals they tended to leak a few but outside of those two games – against Central Coast on Friday night and Dubbo on Saturday night – they only conceded one goal.

“The really pleasing fact about that classification game (against Southern Highlands) was they played structurally very well,” he said.

They scored first and led 1-nil at half-time.

Southern Highlands levelled with about 10 to go but the Lions hit straight back to restore their one-goaladvantage.

Czinner and McCann were, not surprisingly, among their best.

They performed well, Eichorn said, in what was a very good team performance.

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