Maclean High School Open Girls Football team took the long bus trip from Maclean to Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood in Western Sydney to play their semi-final against Vincentia from the South Coast region. They too had to travel but about half the distance and time it took for Maclean.
We stayed overnight at the Football NSW headquarters and had dinner and then breakfast before kicking off at 9am. After 7 rounds of undefeated football, around 500 minutes or 8 ½ hours, the girls were ready for the next challenge.
We awoke to a very brisk and strong wind coming from the north west and this wind was going to play its part. Running into the wind for the first half Maclean got off to a lively start with a number of chances falling to our strikers in the first 15 minutes, who unfortunately couldn't convert those opportunities.
Vincentia too, had their chances but were thwarted by the defence and Lizzy Hyne in goals. Maclean did not hold onto possession as well as they have in the past and the constant chasing to try to get possession took its toll. Vincentia scored in the 22nd minute of play and that too was the half time score line.
Early in the second half Lizzy stopped a one on one situation with a brilliant piece of goalkeeping that kept us in the game. Vincentia's next goal was a goal mouth scramble and some players were not sure if the ball had crossed the line or not but the goal stood. The constant running and chasing had meant Maclean were tired and using their interchange bench frequently which interrupted our style of play.
In the end Vincentia came out worthy winners 0 – 4 in a game they dominated from about the 15 minute mark of the first half. If not for some enormous efforts from the players the score line would've been greater. Lizzy Hyne, Shanyn & Eryn Hammond and the brave Zara Tabor – who came back on after a head clash that left Zara bruised and bloodied were standouts on the day. The experience for all the girls was valuable, more so for the younger ones as they can use this defeat to spur them on to hopefully bigger things next year.
This was a historic moment for the school. The girl's football team had made the last 4 in the state from 315 entries and this had not been done before. Of course, the big win for the girls has been the wonderful way the local community has got behind the girls and supported them in a number of ways. It is difficult to describe but the feeling people had when they spoke about the girls was full of positive and uplifting emotions. We thank you all sincerely.
We also must acknowledge those people who have helped financially to get the girls to Sydney. This trip cost around $5,500. Thanks go to: Aaron Bylos, Maclean Community Markets, Maclean FC, Hamilton & Simmons accounting, Maclean Lions, Sunshine Sugar, Yamba FC, ABA accountancy, Grafton Trailer hire, Botero, The Rice's, Coulter's Carpet Court, Broad Horizons Travel, John Ambrose and Tracey Park. As well, we have had in kind donations from a number of businesses and have started a mega raffle: Blue Dolphin Resort (3 night package), Kane's Sports Store (soft top surfboard), Yamba Newsagency, Sunshine Sugar, Lower Clarence Stationary, Pulse Gym, Maclean Variety Meats and One Fine Cup.
We are hoping to draw the raffle and the 100 club draws late this week or early next week.