WHEN the final whistle blew on Saturday, nobody was more surprised that Woolgoolga had reached the Women’s 1st Division grand final than the Wildcats’ captain-coach herself.
“After the game we couldn’t believe it, we were in a bit of shock I think,” Kim Batty said of the Woolgoolga team’s reaction after upsetting Urunga 2-1 to book a berth in the grand final.
After a large hailstorm hit Urunga not long before the scheduled kickoff time, the start was delayed and the match was moved further down Morgo St to the Raiders’ junior ground.
From the kickoff Woolgoolga the more dangerous in attack and controlled the majority of possession.
When Urunga’s sweeper Steph Morrison was forced from the pitch midway through the first half it caused the Raiders further headaches as Morrison has been so resolute in defence for Urunga throughout 2018.
The Wildcats took advantage of the opposition needing to reshuffle their defence and opened the scoring when Chloe Wighton scored from the penalty spot.
When Zoe Batty scored her first goal for the year to double Woolgoolga’s lead shortly before the break, belief in in the Wildcats’ camp grew enormously.
“At half time we were 2-0 up and all of a sudden I thought ‘hooley dooley, we’re right in this’,” the captain-coach said.
“Everyone knows 2-0 is a dangerous score though and anything can happen from there.”
Urunga lifted its intensity upon the resumption and Raiders coach Trevor Martin thought his team was on top in general play for the final 35 minutes of the contest.
After about 80 minutes the Raiders finally scored their first goal when a run down the left side and cross to the back post allowed Belinda Moore to tap in.
Urunga continued to attack for the rest of the match but were unable to find an equaliser that would’ve sent the match into extra time. Much to Martin’s disappointment.
“When we scored the pendulum was swinging in our favour at that point,” Martin said.
“If we went on and scored again I think we would’ve been in a good position to go on with it.”
Martin said the Urunga girls were naturally disappointed with the loss and being and unable to qualify for the grand final against Boambee.
“We’ve had a stellar season and played so well all the way through it. That one game we happened to play below par happened to be that one,” he said.
“It’s very disappointing for us and the girls are devastated.”
The feeling in the Woolgoolga sheds was the polar opposite.
“We knew we weren’t the favourite to win even though we “think can beat anybody when we play well,” Batty said.
“When that final whistle blew I didn’t know what to think, I couldn’t believe it. All I could think was ‘hooley dooley’.
“It was a big shock but we’re stoked.”
Batty said there is one thing the Wildcats will need to work on in preparation for the replay of last year’s grand final against Boambee.
“We were a bit panicked in those last 10 or 12 minutes when Urunga was trying to equalise,” she said.
“That’s something we’ll need to work on for next week.”
WOMEN’S 2nd DIVISION NORTH – YAMBA def MACLEAN WHITE 2-0
Yamba will play the Westlawn Tigers in the Women’s 2nd Division North grand final after beating Maclean White at Barry Watts Oval.
Both of Yamba’s goals in the 2-0 victory were scored by Grace McGill.
The grand final will be played at Barnier Park on Saturday.
WOMEN’S 2nd DIVISION SOUTH – NAMBUCCA def ORARA VALLEY 4-2
It was a thrilling finish at Coronation Park that saw the Nambucca Strikers reach the grand final.
The Strikers held a 2-0 lead into the second half but Orara Valley dug deep to see Jemm Rigoni score twice for the Dingoes to equalise in with 10 minutes of normal time still remaining.
Nambucca steadied and scored another two goals late to earn a crack at Boambee 2 in the grand final.
Anna Chamoion scored twice for the Strikers while Amie Redman and Kyiesha Cohen also scored in the win.
WOMEN’S 3rd DIVISION – BELLINGEN def SAWTELL 4-1
Bellingen will meet Macksville in the Women’s 3rd Division decider after drawing away from a determined Sawtell on Saturday.