Moe hosts Australia’s club championships

Action: The hockey puck was hotly-contested during the week. Photographs: Tom Hayes




THE Australian Club Championships Inline Hockey Championships came to a close across six divisions recently.

Held at Stadium 34 in Moe, it was the 10th anniversary of the ACC Inline Hockey Championships, and it was well-celebrated with plenty of competition.

“It’s huge, it’s pretty special when everyone travels from all over Australia down to Gippsland, certainly being the 10 years, we’re excited about that,” Stadium 34 manager and Stadium 34 Storm goalkeeper Matt Beatson said.

More than 350 players across 57 teams competed throughout the event, with every state and territory (except Northern Territory) represented.

On Monday, April 10, the Grand Finals were played in every division, as a couple of hundred people watched in attendance.

When visiting Stadium 34 on the second day of the competition, the carpark and street was packed, so I can only imagine it looked like on Grand Final day.

“We’re pretty proud of what we’ve built here over the years,” Beatson said.

“Fifty-seven teams, 157 games over the six days, so it’s fantastic for business, good for the local towns … they can benefit from having everyone here.”

In the Pro Division Grand Final, Bulls took on Next Level Performance in a thrilling shootout finish.

Each team netted two goals in the second half, sending the game into overtime.

After no goals in overtime, a penalty shootout went ahead. Jamie Bourke netted the winner with the final shot to give the Bulls an incredible win.

In Division 1, the Scorpions made light-work of the Snipers, winning 6-1.

Scorpions held a 2-1 lead at half time, before they blew out to a five-goal advantage, scoring four goals in the second half to claim the title.

Byron Tschuma starred for Scorpions with a hat-trick and two assists.

The Sharks completed a come from behind win in Division 2, defeating the Wildcats 2-1.

The Wildcats went ahead thanks to Jake Sanchez, and held a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Tim Webber and Kingsley Hughes scored the goals to give the Sharks the lead in the second half, which turned out to be enough to win them the game.

An incredible first half by The Hornets in the Division 3 Grand Final was enough to get them over the line against the Rink Runners, 4-3.

The Hornets gained a 4-2 lead in the first half, allowing the Rink Runners to gain one back in the second, but their first half effort was enough to win them the Division 3 title.

Stadium 34 Storm represented the home turf as they faced Sydney Suits in the Masters Grand Final.

However, things didn’t go to plan as the Sydney Suits won 8-0, scoring five goals in the first half.

Jason Haynes and Gavin Best scored two each in the opening half to give the Suits an early advantage.

Then in the second half, Michael Haynes netted three goals to claim his hat-trick and round out a Grand Final demolition.

Finally, in the Women’s Division, another thrilling finish was witnessed, as the Snipers downed The Dekes of Hazzard.

A goal each in the first half led to an entertaining second half, where it went down to the wire.

With 48 seconds left on the clock, Justine Kruhlak scored to give the Snipers a late lead, and the eventual title.

“It’s a pretty cutthroat sort of championship, you’ve just got to keep winning to get through,” Beatson said.

Stadium 34 is already looking forward to next year’s championships.

“(The championships) will never go anywhere else, it’s my baby I guess you could say,” Beatson said.

“This is first time we’ve ran six days, it’s normally four days.

“We added a women’s division this year, which we’ve never had before, so it’s growing and it’ll probably be six (days) if not, more next year.”

Fun: Players competing in the Australian Club Championships at Stadium 34, Moe.