Tight possession and calculated play delivered The Armidale School’s First XI its first ever Armidale District Football Association first grade premiership, after a 4-3 victory over Uralla on Saturday 14 September.
While winning their past 17 games meant the school team went into the grand final as favourites, history was not on their side, it being nine years since the school was last a grand finalist and never, the minor or major premiers.
It was the fourth time this season the two teams had met, and Uralla’s determination was reflected in scoring more goals against TAS than the schoolboys had conceded in any game this season. A disallowed goal was followed by the first point on the board when Ben Laurie kicked a goal wide from the right wing. Uralla balanced the ledger soon after, leaving the score 1-1 at the break.
Maintaining possession in the second half, Rory Spiers, one of three brothers in his team, got behind Uralla’s defence and netted a goal, which was again reciprocated quickly by Uralla. Two more disallowed goals to TAS followed, then 15 minutes from full time, Spiers’ younger brother Euan kicked two goals, taking the score to 4-2. Uralla were still in the game though, repaying the favour before the bell sounded at 4-3.
Coach Richard Newton said the boys, who ranged from Years 9-12, had to play beyond their years.
“The boys kept their heads focused and stayed calm. Despite having possession for most of the match, Uralla kept finding ways to stay in the game, and our boys had to dig deep to earn their victory. The to-and-fro encounter was a nailbiting game,” he said.
Newton said the historic win was a reflection of how well the boys played as a team.
“There was a great camaraderie between the boys throughout the season, and it was wonderful to see these playing relationships come to such fruition.”
TAS also took out the 12As division.