THE Kempsey Saints Football Club (KSFC) contested four grand finals over the weekend to wrap up a very successful season for the club.
First up was the Dean Crotty coached KSFC 15s White team up against West Kempsey rivals the Macleay Valley Rangers.
The Macleay Valley Rangers got away to a good start taking a 1-0 lead early in first half. The Saints equalised then took the lead with two goals to Kurtis Smith, but it was the Macleay Valley Rangers who showed some brilliance late in the game to score two of their own in the last 10 minutes.
With the score 3-2 against the Saints, it was Kurtis Smith getting his hat trick to force extra time with less than a minute on the clock.
Extra time saw the Saints lift and Jackson Barnett had a great opportunity to score the winner in the first half of extra time, but let the excitement build a little longer and then mid-way through the second half it was Barnett who clinched the game with a great golden goal.
Kurtis Smith was named the official player of the final with his hat trick but at the other end of the field it was gloveman Max Palise who kept his side in the game with some outstanding work in goals.
Next up for the Saints was the 18 girls White team who were took on the undefeated Wauchope side.
The Saints’ girls did exactly that and probably had the run of the second half to show how good a side they can be.
Wauchope scored early but Saints equalised through Tyisha Duke-Holten to go into the break 1-1. The second half saw Wauchope take control and ended up with a 4-1 win. The Saints girls were never outclassed though and played it out till the end.
The Saints 17/18s men’s team played the last game on Friday evening and after the week off were keen for a game.
Unfortunately they weren’t ready for the start Camden Haven dished out. Saints did plan for the Redbacks long ball game but conceding a goal within two minutes wasn’t part of the plan. The Saints then started to play catch up football way too early in the game.
The rest of the half saw the Saints play forward way too early and the Redbacks kick it long whenever they got the ball.
The halftime break was much needed and a different Saints side ran out and decided to try and play the football that got them to this point in the season.
A bustling Redbacks defence made it difficult but the Saints created some opportunities with the best falling to midfielder Daniel Morrison who took a great save from the opposite keeper to deny the equaliser.
It wasn’t to be Saints night however with the Redbacks catching a pressing Saints team flat at the back to wrap the game up 2-0. Best on the night was midfielder Drew Walsh and Morrison, who wasn’t to be outdone by his younger sister Lindsey, who put in a great defensive effort.
Last up was the Saturday morning games including Saints 14 girls coached by Reagan Dowling.
Only a new team this year no one knew how their first season might go. But as they progressed through the year it became obvious that they played positive football and were determined to give everything in each game.
They forced their way into the grand final by beating an older Wauchope team twice and took on undefeated southern team, the Green Point Rovers. The Saints knew they could match it with the best and never gave up in a really tight game.
It was a scrappy goal from the Rovers mid-way through the second half that proved the difference and the Saints could well have caused the boilover of the season with some chances falling their way as well. Despite the 1-0 loss, it has been a full team performance this year and a great effort from young coach Reagan Dowling.
The Saints reserve grade played themselves into the club’s first Premier League grand final on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Port United. Full report in Friday’s Argus