Some great news from Maitland today, where the Northern NSW Futsal Association school finals were held.
After winning their opening pool game against Berkeley Vale 2-1, the San Clemente boys lined up against a very strong St Philips Waratah team. After finding themselves down 3 - nil at halftime, the boys staged a comeback that they will remember for a long time. A goal to Jackson Sparks restored belief, then Ruben Fuentes slotted another to make things interesting. With barely a minute remaining, San Clemente were awarded a free kick inside the opposition's half. Too far out to shoot, surely? With nearly the last kick of the game, Jackson Sparks unleashed a nomination for goal of the season with an absolute piledriver of a shot straight into the top corner to snatch a draw: 3-3.
The San Clemente Doves continued their good form in their last group match, sweeping aside St Phillips Cessnock 4-2 to claim top spot in Pool A.
San Clemente's semi final opponents - Warner's Bay HS - proved no match for the Doves, with goals to Lucas Caines and Jackson Sparks (again) giving us a 2-0 win. So, through to the grand final to meet.... St Phillips Waratah again!
What transpired next was the stuff of Hollywood movie scripts: A highly fancied and physically bigger St Phillips team came out very strongly against the underdogs of San Clemente. They scored early, but our boys showed some true grit and got back into the game. The game see-sawed throughout and ended 2-2, which meant the title would be decided by penalties. After 8 penalties the teams could still not be split. Our 9th penalty taker was Ruben Fuentes, arguably player of the tournament. Ruben converted with style, and it was up to St Phillips to square the ledger. A miss would hand victory to San Clemente...
Finnbarr Hurley stood in goals for San Clemente and had been like an impenetrable wall all day. The St Phillips player ran in to take the kick... True to form, Finn made a reflex save and was swarmed by his teammates as they celebrated their title: u14 Champions of NNSW Futsal.
Our young men developed their already strong bonds of friendship today, and won many admirers while they were at it. On several occasions they were complimented for their demeanour and sportsmanship. When asked, "What school are you guys from?", it was with pride that we responded: "San Clemente, Mayfield".
Michael Quinn, Coach