7Th Grade – Championship Runners-up at Birkenhead

The East Coast Bays flag was flying the day the 7th Grade Cheetahs came to Birkenhead to defend their title of Tournament Champions that they achieved the previous year.

20 teams filled the tournament, full of old foes. Our pool was a tough one, and Three Kings United was our lads wake up call. This pool clash was billed at one of the lads toughest games and would most definitely define how the boys would travel for the  rest of the day. A loss meaning a play off for the plate and a win giving a chance for East Coast Bays to contest the Championship Final.

Three Kings started of fast and true, and our day looked dashed when we conceded two goals by half time, but true to the spirit of this courageous unit they struck back once, and then again with a Josh Tong equalizer with 30 seconds to go.

Assuming that both us and Three Kings would win their pool games it was all down to winning and winning well for the remainder of the 3 pool games to go through top of the pool on goal difference.

Next up, was the mighty Glenfield Rovers, the boys slotted 4 (two from Brandon Stuart) but Three Kings also had the same goal diff after their next game. Next up was Bay Olympic Bandits and our turn to tire the opposition before the Kings they took them on.

Brandon continued his scoring streak with 5 goals, Aiden McCarthy with 3 and a magic long distance strike from Danny Malik, a goal from one of the super stars of the day Luke Allport saw the lads walk away with a fantastic 10-0 win and more importantly a very comfortable goal diff in the bank.

Three Kings needed 9 goals to force a toss of a coin to decide the pool winner but the resilient Te Atatu Marshalls defended well and restricted the Kings to a 6-0 win putting East Coast Bays into the Championship Final.

Our lads continued their tough road to the finals facing Fensibles United in the knock-out Semi final. This team had previously beaten us 4-1 at Glenfield.

It was a true semi-final tussle 0-0 at half time and into the last minute of normal time, golden goal was looking eminent but then Harrisson Dietrich was rewarded for his hard work and slotted the winner. It was cold wet and our boys where knackered!

Forest Hill/Milford stood between us and the title, but today, it just was not meant to be.

We took the 2-1 loss in our stride but were comforted by the fact that it was a clean game against a good team who simply appeared to have more gas left in the tank than us, indeed it looked like our tough road to the finals took its toll.

To date : All 4 tournaments played this year our East Coast Bays 7th Grade Cheetahs have won their pool each time and reached the Championship Finals 3 out of 4 times.

(Special Mention to Harrisson Dietrict & Joshua Tong)

Aiden McCarthy,  Brandon Stewart, Johua Tong, Luke Allport, Harrisson Dietrich, Matthew Skilton, Danny Malik, Rex Cadman

COACH: Ross Georgiou -  ASST COACH: Scott Dietrich – MANAGER: Mike McCarthy


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