St Paul's first XI hockey team enjoyed a night of celebration with a rare, but well deserved over their local rivals Hamilton Boys' High School.
The match started with an electric tempo as both sides buoyed the biggest crowd the Gallagher Hockey Centre has seen this season. St Paul's didn't have to wait long for their first decent chance of the night. A strong break from Javahn Jones resulted in a penalty corner. The corner was executed to perfection and the competition's top goal scorer, Flynn Hutchinson, opened the scoring in the fourth minute for St Paul's with a well-directed drag flick.
Hamilton Boys' were quick to respond, mounting a flurry of attacks. A number of penalty corners were earned by Boys' High, but quality defensive running from Campbell Colquhoun and stoic goalkeeping from Matt Reutsch, kept St Paul's goal intact.
The game began to open up in the second half with both teams trading attacking opportunities. Hamilton Boys' were awarded a penalty corner early on. Again, Reutsch was up to the task, making a good block to maintain St Paul's advantage.
After a lightning-quick attacking run from Sam Lints, St Paul's were awarded a corner but failed to execute.
Hamilton Boys' continued to probe but were unable to find their way through a very resolute and concentrated defensive unit. With time running down on the clock, Hamilton Boys' threw everything but the kitchen sink at St Paul's, withdrawing their goalkeeper to play with an extra field player.
With seconds to go, the opposition earned one last opportunity with a penalty corner. The tension in the ground was palpable as the St Paul's penalty corner defensive unit once again prepared to shut Hamilton Boys' out. Harrison Bond's excellent block propelled the ball dangerously, resulting in another corner being awarded.
The final play of the match saw Hamilton Boys' attempt a variation that was well-read by Cameron Hopping. After a strong block tackle and clearance over the sideline, Hopping was swamped by his teammates, his final act sealing St Paul's first local championship since 2018.