Parkes' Under 18s hockey squad went to Moorebank with a mission and they fulfilled it.
The team claimed victory in every game of their Junior State Championship campaign to meet Bathurst in a gritty Division 2 final, winning 3-1.
Parkes Under 18s Boys hockey coach Will Searl could not be more thrilled with his side's Junior State Championship campaign.
The team has come home from a long weekend in Moorebank undefeated in three days of competition and with gold in Division 2.
Three months ago the brand new combination of Searl and manager Jordan Grosvenor selected their squad and set out their goals for this title.
"We play hard, and we want to finish with a gold medal around our necks," Searl recounted the conversation they had.
"And the boys were good enough to convert on the weekend."
Most of these players have come up through the local junior ranks together.
They compete in the local A Grade competition and a lot of them are in our local men's Premier League side as well.
But for the past three months they've committed to training as a team in preparation for the weekend and in paid off.
Parkes opened their weekend with a 5-0 over Manning Valley on Friday, and followed that up with a 4-0 win over Northern Sydney Beaches.
Day 2 they found themselves up against another western team in Bathurst, and came away with a 4-2 victory.
They wrapped up their rounds with a 3-0 win against Port Macquarie to finish first in their pool.
That led them into a do-or-die semi-final with an 8.30am Sunday contest with Far North Coast and once again Parkes was up to the challenge, winning 4-1.
Bathurst had taken out their semi-final against Canberra and the Division 2 grand final turned out to be a Central West affair.
That speaks volumes about the calibre of hockey competition in the Central West, Searl pointed out, but it made for a tough grand final game.
"We know each others' strengths and we shut those strengths down," Searl said of the final match.
Parkes was one-nil down after the first quarter and it was a nerve-wracking time for the young coaching team, but the players stepped up and ground out a 3-1 victory over the next three quarters.
In the process, they so impressed selectors that no less than seven of the Parkes Under 18s have gained a spot on the State squad.
They are Kane Macfarlane, Edward Murray, Toby Collins, Cody Kirk, Tom Searl, Ryan Dunford and Nathan Marshall.
Searl said the entire campaign had been a great experience.
The weekend itself was a pleasure with a great group of players and families part of the tour.
"Those boys have been playing together since Under 13s, they know their style, so it was easy to come in and coach them," he said aftewards.
"For Jordan and myself taking on this role for the first time it was great to see.
"It was very pleasing - they're a great group to work with."
Congratulations to you all!
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