THE Border’s junior hockey production line just keeps on producing, with four of the six rep teams making the final of the Victorian Championships.
In recent years it was the under-17 girls who went back-to-back.
This year it was the under-15 girls, filled with seven Victorian and ACT state players, who took the prize, prevailing 3-0 in a penalty shootout after scores were locked 2-2 after normal time.
The under-17 boys also made the final, but lost 3-1.
The defending champion under-17 girls finished fourth after losing two players to broken thumbs and going into finals with no bench, while the under-14 boys also lost the semi.
North East Knights co-ordinator Sharyn Norie said the results were awesome.
“The Knights are formed from players around North East Victoria, mainly from the Goulburn Valley and Hockey Albury-Wod-onga associations,” she said.
“We had six teams compete in Melbourne against nine zones — six metro and three other country sides over the four-day tournament.
“To have four of our six teams in finals — for a country zone that is unheard of.
“The state championships have predominantly been dominated by the metropolitan teams, however in the past two years the country zones have shown they can mix it and compete to the highest level.
“We are seeing more country kids making state teams, which is fantastic for country Victoria and hockey in general.”
Norie said the recent success was a result of the return to hockey basics and exposure to senior hockey.
“These results are a reflection of the quality coaching the kids are getting at a club level,” she said.
“In recent years we have seen a return to grassroot skills — trapping, hitting and passing.
“They are the foundations for all the fancy stuff that follows.
“And there are a lot of the boys that are either development players or part of the Spitfires squad, while a lot of the girls are already playing senior hockey for their clubs.”