HANDY EFFORT: Easts kept their grand final hopes alive by holding out a determined Wests side in Saturday night's A-Grade elimination final at Raceview.
HANDY EFFORT: Easts kept their grand final hopes alive by holding out a determined Wests side in Saturday night's A-Grade elimination final at Raceview. Rob Williams

Father's Day to cherish after dad's winning family double

HOCKEY fanatic Adam Spry was a satisfied coach, received an early Father's Day present and was a proud husband after sharing in a memorable A-Grade winning double.

Spry oversaw the Swifts women and Easts men's teams that secured back-to-back final victories at the Ipswich Hockey Complex on Saturday night.

But it wasn't only with his women's and men's players that Spry shared the twin success.

He got to savour some wonderful family time heading into Father's Day, showing again why hockey is such a terrific sport for people of all ages.

Adam's daughter Ashley scored the winning goal for Swifts in their 1-0 A-Grade elimination final victory over Norths on Saturday night.

Adam's son Tyler played for Easts in the Tigers' 3-2 knockout final win that followed.

After playing for Swifts, Ashley joined Adam in the Easts' dugout, providing some valuable managerial help for her dad.

And watching on was Adam's wife and Ipswich Hockey regional coaching director Sam, just back from winning a Masters World Cup silver medal for Australia.

Adam and Ashley cheered on Sam overseas before preparing for the Ipswich competition finals.

After seeing Easts complete the winning double on Saturday night, Adam Spry was as relieved as he was delighted.

"It's been a tough year with the Easts side, with players in and out all year,'' he said.

"Even tonight, we had to wait for players to arrive late, juggling that between the Reserve Grade guys.''

That included 18-year-old son Tyler who had two games in Brisbane before rushing out to the Ipswich Hockey Complex to help the Tigers keep their grand final hopes alive.

"And we had guys pulling out at the last minute with injuries and stuff like that,'' the coach said.

"But in terms of the competition, we are in a really good place. Any team can beat any team.

"That was a pretty strong, tough match.''

Easts looked to have the men's final wrapped up leading 3-0 early in the second half.

Goals by Tim Woodford, Joshua Russo and Jacob Robinson had the Magpies facing an almost impossible mission to salvage the game.

However, Wests breathed new life into the final when Blair Iszlaub and Andrew Horrocks seized on penalty corner opportunities.

Wests had a chance to equalize with three minutes left but the penalty corner strike sprayed wide.

Easts held on to progress to this weekend's preliminary final against minor premiers Hancocks.

Maintaining the Spry family connection in the previous knockout final, Ashley's goal broke the deadlock.

She was on the spot to deflect a powerful penalty strike from Swifts captain Bridget McLean into the net early in the second half.

Ashley, 17, smiled when asked what it was like being coached by Adam.

"Dad's harder on me because I'm his daughter but it's good,'' she said.

And as for coaching back-to-back games, Adam is getting used to it.

"It makes it difficult to give team talks but with some time management, it's really been quite good,'' he said.

"I've been quite lucky.''

Wests 'should be proud'

CONCEDING his team was under the pump in the closing stages, Easts A-Grade coach Adam Spry offered some words of encouragement for his final opponents.

"They (Wests) have worked really hard this year,'' Spry said after Easts held on to win Saturday night's knockout clash 3-2. "They've been out here training around the same time I do on a Thursday. They are out here doing fitness all the time. They're a pretty well-drilled team.

"They should be really proud of what they've achieved this year and I think they play a really good style of hockey.

"We knew we were in for a battle tonight.''

In his team featuring a number of new faces, Spry said it was valuable still having a core of Easts stalwarts like Tim Woodford, Daniel Mantell, Kyle Sippel, Steve Bayliss, Thom Millar and goalkeeper Stu Darby.

"Without those guys, I don't think we'd do nearly as well,'' the Easts coach said. "They are smart hockey players and guide the guys around the park.''

State of play

A-Grade men: Qualifying final - (2) Norths 8 (Z Profke 3, N Maddocks 2, P Jordan, D Jeffrey, L Brown) d Hancock Brothers 6 (J Willie 3, C Chappell, R Smith, H Michel). After the match was drawn 4-4, Norths advanced to grand final by winning the shootouts 4-2.

Elimination final: (4) Easts 3 (T Woodford, J Russo, J Robertson) d (3) Wests 2 (B Iszlaub, A Horrocks).

Preliminary final: Sunday (5pm) - Hancocks Brothers v Easts.

A-Grade women: Qualifying final - (2) Hancock Brothers 4 (L Eleison 2, M McNamara, C Harper) d Wests 3 (A Kickbusch 2, J Close). Hancocks won with an extra-time golden goal after the teams were deadlocked at 3-3.

Elimination final: (3) Swifts 1 (A Spry) d (4) Norths 0.

Preliminary final: Sunday (6.45pm) - Wests v Swifts.