The 15 years boys very quickly gelled as a team and were our most successful on the day. As a group of very experienced and enthusiastic players, they showed great leadership and ensured all players contributed and were valued on the team. The team went through the day undefeated thanks to some excellent defence and scintillating attack.
In the first four games, the boys only conceded three tries and scored an impressive 26. Game five was a seesawing match, against a very talented Metropolitan Catholic Colleges (MCC) team, that saw the lead change many times before ending in a 5-5 draw. Our consistency throughout the day put us into the grand final with a better for and against than MCC. The grand final was another very close match. At full time, it was 4-4 and went to drop off to decide the winner. Some very calm and calculated attacks saw the scoring of an excellent try that sealed victory for the Maitland-Newcastle team.
The teams’ coach, Andrew Gill acknowledged all players represented their Diocese and school with pride and excellent sportsmanship. Their efforts were justly rewarded with four selected in the NSWCCC squad. Elijah Faalua and Fletcher Thompson from St Joseph’s Lochinvar, Logan Aoake from San Clemente Mayfield and Will Botham from St Mary’s Gateshead were all selected and very appreciative of the support all of the other players gave them throughout the day to give them the opportunity to shine
The 15 years girls team, coached by Alberta Russell, also had a very successful day in their pool rounds. The team came together very well on the day despite many of the girls never playing with each other before. They played exceptionally as a team, reading each other’s play, communicating and defending with great skill. The girls defeated the Diocese of Parramatta 3 – 0, Lismore 3 – 0, Wollongong 2 – 0 and South Sydney 5 – 0. In the semi-finals, the team were up against the Broken Bay Diocese; with the girls defeated 4 – 2. Three credible players were selected for the NSWCCC squad including Lucy Green from St Clare’s Taree, Tyler Brown from St Joseph’s Aberdeen and Maddi McArthur from St Pius X Adamstown.
The open boys team, coached by Matt Edwards, recorded two strong victories over Lismore and Wollongong, had two draws against CGBSA and Parramatta and had a loss to the Metropolitan Catholic School Sports Association (MCS) team. Verdelh Antonio from St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton impressed selectors throughout the Championships and was successful in making the NSWCCC team.
The open girls team were very competitive in all four of their games, according to their coach Abbie Marston. They were narrowly defeated by one try in each of their first two games, but once they built a stronger understanding of each other’s games and increased their communication in defense they began to dominate their opposition. Their offensive pressure was a combined effort from the girls, with solid games from Alkeira Johnston who played at link, Lucy Lowe, Mackenzie Grant and Matilda Jones who played in the middle. The speed and step of Heidi Richards was hard for any opposition player to match and she scored several tries for the team, with most coming from excellent runs straight up the middle after a quick play the ball from her teammates or from the outstanding support play she provided. Heidi continued to improve throughout the tournament and was a clear stand out in our team. Our strongest and most consistent player from the day was Bella Pipe who lead the team from the middle. Her outstanding skill, speed and superior read of both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game saw her cross the line numerous times throughout the day. Bella's ability to create a play and score points when it looked like not much was viable was her standout strength. Bella was rewarded with selection in the NSWCCC Open Girls Squad.
I would like to acknowledge the support Kym Skerritt, NSWCCC Executive Officer and her team, as well as Nelson Bay and NSW Touch associations, Port Stephens Council and Mel Lidbury, teacher at All Saints’ College, Maitland. Without their support, such a great day of sport would not have been possible for our students.
Congratulations to all.