The Kempsey Saints Women’s White side capitalised on a strong start to take an early lead in their grand final against Wauchope but the side wasn’t able to hold on, suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat.
Saints were forced into two changes in their defensive line up, with Amelia Tyne and Jess Doltan unavailable for the decider.
The reshuffle meant Saints lost their combinations in both attack and defence.
However, it didn’t phase the side early as they broke the deadlock from a corner.
Liana Tyne volleyed into the back of the net and Saints remained on the front foot.
However, late in the half, the game began to even out and Wauchope found their groove.
They capitalised on an opportunity to level the score prior to the break after a cross into the middle of the box landed at a Wauchope striker’s feet.
Wauchope’s momentum extended into the second half and they took the lead from a dead ball situation.
A Wauchope player lifted the ball over the wall and into the corner, giving the Saints’ goalkeeper no chance of producing a save.
Saints White attempted to respond immediately with a freekick of their own, but unfortunately Hayley Kesby’s strike hit the crossbar and was ruled to not pass the goalline.
“It was pretty 50-50, it could have easily been ruled as a goal but I was happy with the decision either way,” Saints White coach Abigael Baker said.
White dominated possession for the final 10-minutes of the contest as Wauchope attempted to defend their lead.
White came close to an equaliser on numerous occasions but they weren’t able to find the back of the net.
“They scrambled really well, we didn’t get a clear chance but we were pretty unlucky not to get a goal,” Baker said.
Despite the loss, it was a successful campaign for the Saints, who had two women’s teams in the competition for the first time.
The Saints Green side won the minor premiership but they weren’t able to reach the grand final, losing to Wauchope in a penalty shootout a fortnight ago.
“It was a great year, to have both sides finish in the top two was beyond what we thought was possible,” Baker said.
“It’s a disappointment to miss out on winning the grand final but hopefully we can continue to build on this year.”
Baker is hopeful the Saints will have enough women players to have two sides in the competition again next year.
Saints were searching for back-to-back titles, after they defeated Port United in 2016.