WOMBATS coach Pete Barber rammed home the grand final winner with just five minutes on the clock in an upset in men’s hockey yesterday.
Minor premiers United went into the clash at the Albury Hockey Centre fielding two Premier League players — Sam McIntosh and Andrew Monte — and the Spitfires’ best and fairest, Tim Jones.
But Wombats outplayed them in the second half, keeper Ben Hooppell, a member of the Aussie under 21-team and rated best on ground, keeping a clean sheet while they continued to attack at the other end.
Scores were locked 1-1 at half-time and it took until the 19-minute mark in the second stanza before Jacob Van Holten, the only player with socks rolled down and no shin pads, made it a double and broke the deadlock.
Barber added the extras with a clinical finish in the dying stages.
“We were massive underdogs but we knew we had to keep the ball away from their midfield with so many great players,” he said.
“It was the same game plan we took into the game against Magpies last week and it worked again.
“Hoops (Hooppell) was brilliant in goals while Jacob has come from nowhere — we pulled him out of the twos halfway through the year and he has just got better and better.
“But that was the best hockey we have had to play all year — a real quality game.”
United coach Tony Jones said they were outplayed in the second half.
“Their keeper was outstanding but we couldn’t convert from the short corners,” he said.
“We missed chances in the second half, where we should have done better.
“All year our strength has been our multiple goal scorers. Today we couldn’t find an avenue to goal.”