University of Queensland took out their first National Men’s Club Championship with a convincing 27:17 win over a makeshift St Kilda team, today in Gold Coast.
St Kilda managed to be competitive for about 10 minutes, and was in the lead by two, before UQ responded with vengeance. A seven-zero streak midway through the first half put them in front by four, leaving St Kilda to chase for the remainder of the match.
By the 40th minute UQ increased their lead to eight, at which point St Kilda risked it all. With twenty minutes left in play, they took out their keeper Thomas Gerstch, and went into attack with seven players. The tactic backfired quickly as UQ converted four long range shots in the empty goal.
Player of the tournament Ignacio Ballester was on top form again leading UQ’s attack, top scoring with 11 goals for the match and providing a string of assists.
In the end, UQ proved a class above and took out the championship winning all games comfortably.
St Kilda had put in a temporary team in the competition after national restrictions, which forced all Sydney clubs to pull out, affected their travel plans. Their participation became more complicated as further restrictions, during the competition, resulted in several roster changes.
In third place play-off the young team of Brisbane claimed their first win of the tournament over UniSA 27:17 (8:9). UniSA finished the tournament last, despite defeating St Kilda and Brisbane HC in the group phase.
In the women’s competition, Canberra HC took out the tournament with another win over Brisbane (25:20). UTS had defeated Canberra in the first-round clash but was then forced to pull out of the tournament following new government advice around Covid-19 restrictions.
The tournament concluded with an award ceremony and a good spirit, with most players content to have had the opportunity to compete at a national level again, after an almost two-year break.
Photo: Ignacio Ballester breaks through the Saint Kilda defence for another shot at goal.
Credit: Chris Seen (Chris Seen Photography)