Lower Great Southern Hockey Association’s division one team fell short of title glory at the CBH Men’s Country Championships in Perth on Sunday, losing to Bunbury in the grand final. LGSHA recorded two wins, one draw and one defeat in the qualifying rounds to finish as second seed in the tournament, earning a berth in the grand final against a Bunbury side that went undefeated in the competition. Player-coach Darren Parkes was rewarded for his outstanding efforts across the tournament, earning the competition’s best and fairest award but his side was unable to secure the division one trophy after a 2-0 loss in the decider. In a less than ideal start for the LGSHA in the grand final, Bunbury’s Luke Blee bobbed up within a minute of the first whistle to fire home the opening goal. Shortly afterwards, Bunbury midfielder Brayden Dalton converted the second of the contest, scoring from a penalty corner to put his side up by two goals before half-time. Parkes wrestled his side back into the territory battle after half-time, and dynamic midfielder Hayden Mills worked hard to trouble Dalton and teammate Raine Fisher through the midfield — but the LGSHA just couldn’t penetrate a tight Bunbury defence. Parkes said the tournament was physically taxing. “They got a quick goal against us in the first half and then they got another one and we just couldn’t bounce back,” he said. “We changed a few things and managed to start to string some plays together but we just ran out of legs in the end.” It’s the second straight year LGSHA have been defeated in the grand final, going down 2-1 in last year’s decider to Geraldton. In the first qualifying match, LGSHA played out a 2-2 draw with Uppers but bounced back to put together a superb 4-1 performance against Eastern Goldfields. They then faced Bunbury in their third qualifying match, slumping to a 5-0 loss in a one-sided affair. The LGSHA rallied, however, edging out Geraldton in the fourth qualifying match to finish second behind Bunbury in the standings. However, a reflective Parkes found positives in the loss, lauding the tireless work of LGSHA committee member Matt Heberle in expanding and promoting hockey in the region. “He managed, he helped out, he sorted everything and we wouldn’t have sent two teams from Albany if it wasn’t for Matt,” he said. “Three or four years ago, we didn’t even send a team and now we’ve got two teams with more players hopefully coming in. “If we can keep promoting this little thing then hopefully we can be a strong kind of region again, a bit like Bunbury.” In the men’s division two competition, LGSHA finished fourth in the standings after winning one match, drawing three and losing one in the qualifying games. The squad were beaten by Uppers in their opening game, but recorded 1-1 draws against KROCS and Eastern Districts. They had their only win against Avon, rounding out their tournament with a 1-1 draw against Bunbury.