Football teams shine despite a wet and windy end to the season
A RAINY weekend didn't dampen the mood of hundreds of players, spectators and volunteers as teams took to the field for the 2016 grand finals.
With this season producing less than stellar results for Gympie Diggers, Saturday's end of year extravaganza showed the club still had a lot of fight left.
"Overall it wasn't our best year,” admits club president Joel Albion.
"This season didn't produce the results previous years have seen for the club, but all of the teams in the final have played great football.”
Albion was particularly impressed with the performance of the ladies squad that capped off a difficult year with a 1-0 win over the Lions White team.
The squad was beset by injuries and its player numbers was stretched thin across two divisions.
"I think what Geoff Haig and the girls, who've been together for so long, have really pulled together for a really good competition,” Albion says.
Increasing the number of girls and women on the field next year is the next big step for both the Diggers and other local clubs, who face stiff competition from other sports, including an increasingly visible netball league.
"We'd definitely like to grow on the fantastic success the girls have had this year, that's the next big step for 2017,” Albion agrees.
The men's competition, which ended the night, saw the Division 1 Diggers walk away with a 3-0 victory over Columbia.
However, Columbia Gold went on to top the Division 2 competition, with a goal apiece from Zidane Duong and Harley Midson ending the game against the Lions.
The weekend also saw excellent games in the competitive youth divisions, with the Diggers girls continuing their strong efforts throughout the finals with a 2-1 win over the Lions White.
The rest of the youth games belonged to the Lions and Tigers though, with the two sides going head-to-head across all three divisions.
The Youth 3 game saw an impressive performance for the Lions Red, with seven goals scored to Columbia's three. Connor Hanlon-Williams and Kai Mobbs were responsible for three and two of those goals respectively.
Two goals by Jai Lord secured Columbia's victory in the Youth 2 game, with the Lions unable to get a point in throughout the game.
The last game of the afternoon pitted the Youth 1 Lions against a determined Tigers side.
Jesse Langmead's goal wasn't enough to secure a win though, with displays from the Lion's Lachlan Seed and Benjamin Rhodes leaving the full-time score at 3-1.