Maitland took positives from a 2-1 loss to four-time defending champions Gosford in round three of the men's Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League on Sunday.
Penalty corner goals from Rhiley Carr in the first and third quarters put the visitors up but Wade Harry converted his own with about five minutes left to give the Rams hope. Maitland, back in the league after a year off, then hit the post and the keeper with shots to almost steal a draw.
"It was the best we've played," senior Ram Matt Magann said. "It's been a tough start back with a draw and two losses but we're getting better as we go."
Also Sunday, Norths beat Wests 11-1 and Souths routed Uni 12-0 at Broadmeadow.
For Norths, Ky Willott scored four goals, while Theo Gruschka and Rory Walker bagged three each. Seb Rollings scored five and Lukas Gremm two for Souths.
On Saturday, the Newcastle women's premier league started with Oxfords and Central drawing 1-1. Uni beat Regals 1-0 and Gosford and Tigers drew 1-1.
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