University prevailed 1-0 over Avondale in a close, hard-fought Illawarra women's hockey grand final on Saturday.
It was a typical tight game between the two teams at the Illawarra Credit Union complex at Unanderra, with only the one goal being the difference between them.
But it was enough for the reigning premiers to successfully defend their title - their third in a row.
Tamara Evans scored the crucial goal from a penalty corner rebound midway through the second half and try as they might Avondale could not find an equaliser.
The winner came from a mess in the defensive circle where Avondale were unable to clear the ball and a persistent Uni eventually scrambled it into the net.
"It was very good, very exciting," Uni captain Melissa Davis said.
"Every goal counts and it was a close game, so it was pretty good for us. We defended and played well for the rest of the game.
"There were only a few chances for each team throughout the game. It was a pretty even game. Most of it was played in midfield."
Going into the game signs pointed to a close grand final after both teams had one win each and a draw in previous clashes.
"We always have close games with Avondale and both teams are always fighting hard, they're always close encounters," Davis said
"We did well. We had a bit of a change-up in our team from last year.
"We had about five girls that didn't play last year, we had a couple of new people to the club, new Uni students, and a couple of people that played second grade last year, so I'm pretty proud of the girls.
"It was a good effort to get to the grand final and win it."
On a personal note, Davis and Uni teammate Melissa Eastwood now have nine first grade premierships and will be trying to make it 10 next year.
Avondale captain Gaye Tarrant said: "It was a good game and both teams played really well which I suppose showed how close it was,"
"It was just a shame to lose by a not-well constructed goal and that makes it hard to take.
"The girls played really well.
"Everybody did what they could.
"We just couldn't get it in the end.
"We've got plenty of juniors coming through and even the younger age groups too.
"We're certainly going to be a force for a few years yet.
"So we should come back next year and our goal will be to take it that next step."
There were not a lot of chances created at either end with Felicity Lord and Sharni Barton for Avondale and Jessica Ford and Kate Davis for Uni doing a great job of stifling attacks at either end.
The midfields of both teams had to work hard with the ball flowing from one end to the other, with only a handful of penalty corners awarded throughout the match.
In division two Kristi-Lee Gale scored twice in Dapto's 2-0 win over Figtree.
In division three, Rebecca Thorne scored the only goal in University's 1-0 win against Unanderra .
The division four premiership went to Figtree who Beat Uni 1-0 with a Melissa Faulks goal.