Playing sport is life, even better when scoring the winner
VALUABLE Ipswich competition A-Grader Adrian Cross revealed how much returning to the field meant after months being unable to play.
"It's life. I wouldn't know what I would do if I didn't have hockey to be honest,'' he said.
That's why he was glowing with excitement after his latest match at the Ipswich Hockey Complex.
Keen to help developing his younger Easts teammates, Cross set the perfect example in a last-gasp thriller.
The senior player nailed the winning goal in the final seconds to ensure the Tigers upstaged Wests 3-2 on Sunday night.
In their first game back in the restructured Ipswich competition, Easts led 2-0 at halftime before letting Wests fight back.
But just as the Magpies threatened to snatch victory, Cross was on the spot to score from a penalty corner on the full-time siren.
"It's good to get one in,'' Cross said, taking a leadership role in penalty corners.
"The first few let us down with how they didn't come out straight.''
The former Hancocks player also represents Redcliffe in the Brisbane competition.
"It's good to get a run. I've already played two games so I'm buggered,'' he said after lining up in Brisbane the night before.
Having played hockey since he was five, Cross also played for the youth-laden Easts A-Grade side last year.
"It was good fun,'' Cross said of the latest win, being the second oldest player, aged 28, in Tigers side.
"I always like playing with the young fellas, just trying to help develop them and get them up a good standard.
"It was good to come back and get the win in the end there.''
Cross was also encouraged to see Easts retain most of the players that were set for a new season before the COVID-19 shutdown in March.
"There's some very good young blokes. You just need to get them up and keep them up,'' he said.
His timely late goal came after Max Schulz and Jacob Robertson put the Tigers 2-0 up.
Wests started their second half comeback when Corey Jaenke scored after the break.
Youngster Rhys Stenzel levelled the scores in the match played with 30 minute halves rather than 17.5 minute quarters under the revised COVID-19 rules.
In the other A-Grade match, Hancock Brothers drew 4-4 with defending premiers Norths.
Men's and boys results July 17-19
A Grade: Hancock Brothers 4 (James McAlpine, Jay Pavitt, Cade Banditt, Ryan Smith) drew Norths 4 (Zac Profke 2, Nick Maddocks 2); Easts 3 (Adrian Cross, Max Schulz, Jacob Robertson) d Wests 2 (Rhys Stenzel, Corey Jaenke).
Reserve Grade: Wests 4 (M Wiseman, L Alchin, T Smith, B Arndt) d Easts 1 (K Bezuidenhout); Hancock Brothers 6 (R Smith 3, S Drew, K Tierney, J Pavitt) d Norths 1 (C Doyle).
R2 Grade: Hancock Brothers 3 (J Burns 3) d Easts Gold 1 (A Batten); Bellbowrie 6 (C Meloury 3, R Addison-Hunt, A Boyle, J Donald) d Wests 0; Norths 2 (T Ross 2) d Easts Black 1 (Z Chetham).
A2 Grade: Swifts 4 (Z Pascoe 2, C Meloury, W Pascoe) d Easts 2 (M Pickering, K Riesley); Hancock Brothers 10 (P Jackwitz 3, J Burns 3, B Kinnane 2, R Sherlock, J Grant) d Northern Strikers 2 (T Schostakowski, A Woods).
D Grade: Easts 5 (S Morris 2, T Savage 2, N O'Connor) d Hancock Brothers 1 (S Jackwitz); Wests 7 (H Black 4, J Brown, M Victor, M Walsgott) d Northern Strikers 4 (J Donald 4)
E Grade: Easts Black 1 (N Morris) d Easts Gold 0; Hancock Brothers 4 (A Hanley 2, H Siebenhausen, A Noga) d Norths 3 (T Campbell, M Doyle, J Cox).