DEFENDING premiers Chatham will tackle Port Thunder in the Manning Hockey men’s division one grand final on Saturday.
This follows Thunder’s 6-5 extra time defeat of Tigers in the final.
Thunder looked set to run up a cricket score in the final when racing to a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes.
However, Tigers fought hard to get back into the do-or-die game. The action was end to end. Tigers wrestled their way back into the contest with a couple of goals against the run of play to reduce the margin to 3-2.
Thunder found the back of the net again to lead 4-2. But Tigers scored twice more to lock it up at 4-4 at half time.
In the second half both Thunder and Tigers created chances and momentum continually changed. As the match passed the 20 minute mark of the second half Tigers caught a lucky break and scored to lead for the first time.
Tigers were up 5-4 with less than five minutes left and were on track to record a great come from behind win. However, Thunder didn’t read the same script and from a penalty corner they made it 5-5, with 1.27 on the clock, forcing the match into extra time.
The drop off rule was applied in extra time and both teams were reduced to nine players, so what had already been a fast open game became even quicker.
Thunder looked in control much of the extra time and with the weight of possession scored in the second section of five minutes to lead 6-5. Tigers needed to score to send the game into golden goal.
Thunder withstood everything Tigers threw at them to book a grand final berth against Chatham Wolves, while for the gallant Tigers side the season was over.
Mitch Patterson cracked three goals for Thunder while Brad Patterson, Ash Grummitt and Ryan Payne also scored. Matt Pullen scored two for Tigers, with Blake McIntosh, Bailey Pitman and Kye Lewis adding the others.
Pitman and McIntosh were the best for Tigers with Payne, Grummitt and Bryce Philpott the pick for Thunder.