New England shot their way to the State U18s Boys Championship Division 2 title at Newcastle on the weekend.
The Kyle Eichorn and Greg Doolan-coached side defeated Grafton 4-2 in the final on Sunday to claim the silverware, and with it promotion to Division 1 for next year.
“They did very well. It was a good result considering we lost to Grafton in the round games,” Eichorn said.
The 5-2 defeat was their only blemish for the tournament.
They registered round wins over Bathurst (3-2), Tamworth (2) (8-nil) and Parkes (5-nil) before accounting for Sydney South West 3-2 in their semi-final.
Eichorn was in the dug out for the final, and took some extra satisfaction from the win, having been beaten by Grafton in the same situation a few years back as a player.
He said one of the major differences between the final and their pool game was they gelled better.
After that game they really started “to string passes together”.
“(And) They worked really hard in the final. They really wanted to win,” he said.
They were always ahead or level in the final.
“We started off really well. We got a penalty corner pretty early,” Eichorn said.
“Then it went tit for tat until it was 2-all.”
After hitting the front again, Darby Chalmers sealed the victory off a penalty stroke with about 10 minutes remaining.
"We controlled the last 10 pretty well," Eichorn said.
With the side they had, his expectation going into the tournament was at least reaching the semi-finals.
"We definitely had some pretty big names on paper," he said.
Chalmers recently played for the NSW Blues at the U18s nationals, while Czinner was named player of the tournament at the U15s nationals held just before the 18s.
McCann was also part of the NSW side that won gold.
Chalmers received the citizenship award for the tournament and was prominent in the midfield along with Nathan Czinner, while Jake McCann was good up front.
Keeper Stirling George also had a good tournament.
George’s performance earned him selection in the boys squad for the Hockey NSW Athlete Acceleration Program.
In the girls squad, fellow Hockey New England representatives Mia Emanuael, Sarah Askey and Meg Lye were named.
Czinner and McCann were also named in the NSW All Schools boys team to play at the Australian Schools Hockey Championships when the squad was announced on Tuesday.