A feast of football
SPECTATORS were treated to a feast of Over 35s football on the weekend with the running of the ninth annual Sawtell BCU Credit Union Cup at the Coffs Harbour International Stadium. Regarded as one of the premier competitions in the state, teams from the Central Coast, Queensland, Sydney, Armidale and Bathurst converged on the region to battle it out with local teams in the two day tournament. The fine weather together with the high quality of the playing surface added to the spectacle providing the perfect environment for free flowing football at its best. Although the objective of the weekend was to renew old friendships and enjoy the family atmosphere that the tournament is renowned for, once the games got under way the aging predatory instincts of past days was evident. With the final matches in sight the changing rooms started to resemble the A&E ward at the hospital. Colo Colo confirmed to all why they are considered to be one of the best over 35s football teams in the Sydney region when they defeated the Gold Coast Panthers 1-0 in the final of the 2005 BCU Credit Union Cup held on Sunday. In what many described as one of the most exciting finals in the nine year history of the cup, Colo Colo scored after only three minutes when a beautifully weighted free kick by Jim Dincer was headed on by Alfredo Barroso who made no mistake in finding the net. From here on Colo Colo took a strong grip on the game for most of the first half however to their credit the Panthers staged a second half comeback which saw the Sydney team's defence being put under some considerable pressure. Inspirational performances from Wilkinson and Oliver led the Gold Coast charge but the Colo Colo keeper was equal to the task performing some brilliant saves to keep the opposition scoreless. In the end time ran out for the Panthers and it was a very jubilant Colo Colo team who took the honours. Winning goal scorer Barosso was esctatic with his team's performance in securing the highly prestigious BCU Credit Union Cup and was full of praise for the Sawtell Old Boys who hosted the tournament. "This is one of the best tournaments we have been to and we are looking forward to returning next year to defend our title," Barosso said. Last year's cup winners Woolgoolga United defeated FBFC Samford 1-0 in extra time to win the Toormina Medical Centre Shield. FBFC seemingly had the game won when they were awarded a penalty in the latter stages of the second half, but the kick was blasted wide of the post. FBFC were left ruing this missed opportunity when Robbie Barselaar found the net for Woolgoolga slotting in the winning goal. Woolgoolga's captain Michael Lamont was proud of the fact that his side were one of the better performing teams from the local area, only just missing out on the finals series for the cup. The Toormina Physiotherapy Plate was also decided in extra time with Bathurst 75 defeating Killarney Kripples 1-0 in a very tense encounter. Eamonn 'Finish It' Dempsey could have sealed the win earlier for Bathurst but opted for a misdirected pass right in front of goal to take the game into extra time. Jason Hillier ultimately broke the deadlock with a fine strike which left the Kripples keeper with absolutely no chance. Bathurst's captain Wayne Lovett was most happy with his touring side's win. "We've been coming up from Bathurst for this event for some time now," Lovett said. "It's always nice to have some silverware to pass round on the team bus for the long journey back home." Local boys Sawtell Barbarians won the battle for the spoon by default when Lake Cathie Raiders made an early exit from the tournament due to a run of snapping hamstrings which left them with only two players. Sawtell's leading goalscorer Michael Sandford was happy to accept the spoon on behalf of the Barbarians. The event, according to tournament co-ordinator Paul Chakos was a huge success. "It's very pleasing to be able to offer such a great tournament that attracts teams from all over the nation," he said. "Many thanks go out to the teams who participated, the supporters who keenly watch the entertaining football and also to all our major sponsors who ensure the event continues to be a success."