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Danger time... Eastern Red inner Jaxson Turnbull (front, 13) dribbles the ball into the goal circle while Eastern Royal fullback Kynan Marsh (13) waits for his opportunity to steal the ball away. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

From last place in 2017 to second place this year – the Eastern Royal division four hockey team can be proud.

Eastern Southland hockey teams contested the final of Hockey Southland’s division four competition on Sunday in Gore, Eastern Red taking the title over Eastern Royal 2-0.

The division four competition is for year 7 and 8 players.

Eastern Royal is coached by Kelly Sanson and Aimee Heaps.

Sanson said it was mostly the same team as last year, with about four new players joining the team.

“We’ve gone from bottom of the table to being in the final, so that is really cool for them.

“They’ve made huge progress and that comes down to their effort and their attitude,” Sanson said.

One secret to the team’s success was the players’ ability to work together.

“We are like a good little team unit.”

Even with goals scored against them, the players never gave up.

“We’ve got a lot of workhorses in our team.”

Rubious Edwards (12) had a strong game in defence, and Fraser Wilson (12) attacked well.

Eastern Red is coached by Vince Aynsley and Nic Roy.

Aynsley said the last time the two teams played, the Reds had won in the dying seconds.

“It was always going to be anybody’s match.

“I guess we were just fortunate to come away with the win this time.”

The half line of Millie Roy, (11), Georgia Roy and Myah King (both 13) were possibly the difference between the two teams.

“It gave our forwards a bit more freedom to score goals . knowing they had a strong line of players behind them.”

The six eastern teams finished in the top seven places of the 10-team competition.

At the start of the year the eastern players were divided up into teams.

“We try and do our best to spread them out and try to make the teams as even as possible; to make it a good fair competition is our ultimate goal.”