Wildcats win on penalties
SPELL & the Gypsy Collective Byron Bay Wildcats teams started the weekend on a high with their premier division team securing a grand finals berth on Friday night and the thirds surviving a tense penalty shootout to win their grand final in Lismore on Sunday.
On Friday night, despite Lennox's dominance of second-half possession, it was always Wildcats Salem Edwards and Lisa Bolt who looked the more likely to score. With their 1-nil victory over Lennox Sharks, the Wildcats will now face Lismore Thistles in next weekend's grand final in Lismore.
On Sunday, the Division 3 Wildcats faced off against Lismore Italo Stars in a clash of opposing styles. The Wildcats scored first with fine work from Violet Rogers and the Wildcat forcing an own goal from the Stars defenders. Stars then struck back to lock the game up at one-all at the end of the first half.
In the second half the Stars failed to capitalise on a huge wind advantage, leaving the Wildcats free to challenge the Stars defenders and keeper over and over. Only top-quality defence prevented the Bay's forward line of Wave Lachish, Violet Rogers and Jess Good from finishing Lismore off and the game headed into extra time.
A further 20 minutes of extra time had the teams locked at a goal apiece, so the Wildcats faced up to a penalty shootout for the second week in a row.
The Wildcats dominated the shootout. Nimmity Parkes, in a stunning match-winning performance, saved all four of the Stars' penalties, with superb spot kicks from Violet Rogers and Wave Lachish all the Wildcats needed to win the championship.
Wildcats keeper Nimmity Parkes was awarded Player of the Final by match officials.