Grand Final Weekend Recap
Post date: Aug 22, 2018 12:36:52 PM
Last weekend the club had a record 7 teams participating in Grand Finals: 5 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.
The first two were played at 12.30pm side by side at Henley Park in Enfield in blustery conditions.
The Over 35 Division 5 took on Concord, a team which they could not find a way to beat on two separate occasions. The first half was very tight and finished scoreless but it was the Titans who broke the deadlock just after the break. Concord started to press as Cooks River started tiring. Concord managed to equalise with around 10 minutes to spare and when it seemed destined for extra time, Concord found the winner in the dying stages to clinch the win.
On the adjacent field our Over 35 Division 4 team were up against Marrickville. In the regular season they shared one win each so this match was always going to be tight. Cooks River were still on a high after last week's dramatic penalty shootout win. The sky blues had the better chances in the first half and finally scored with a screamer from outside the box to take a 1-0 lead into the break. After the break, Marrickville started to push forward and this left the open at the back. On one occasion, the Titans exploited this and doubled the lead. The Red Devils could find no way through the staunch defence as the boys in sky blue held firm to be crowned champions.
At 2.30pm again two teams took to the field side by side at Henley Park.
The All Age 12s were seeking revenge against Marrickville who inflicted the first defeat on the Titans all year in the major semi final. Cooks River struggled to keep the ball on the ground and this favoured the Red Devils who made better use of the windy conditions. After 22 minutes, Marrickville floated in a free kick which was inadvertently guided in by a Titans defender. In the 34th minute the Titans equalised through a well worked passage of play down the left. With seconds remaining in the first half, Marrickville was awarded another freekick which was floated to the backpost where 3 reds were left unmarked to tap the ball home. The second half was a scrappy affair but the game was virtually all over when the Cooks River keeper collided with the Marrickville striker in a one-on-one collision which resulted in a red card for the keeper and a penalty. The penalty was duly converted and ended the scoring at 3-1 to Marrickville.
Again on the adjacent field, the All Age Division 8 team was looking to go back to back after winning the Grand Final in 2017. They were up against Minor Premiers Strathfield who they had previously beaten convincingly in the major semi final as well as both times in the regular season. After a haphazard start it was Strathfield who took the lead via the penalty spot. They fought hard making it difficult for the Titans to get into the groove and hence went into the break 1-0 down. After the break, Cooks River upped the intensity and their pressure was rewarded with an equaliser. They did not stop there and poured forward again looking for the winner which they managed to do. They had to endure over 7 minutes of stoppage time before the final whistle was blown to win the Grand Final.
Also at the same time but just a couple of kilometres away at Strathfield Park were our Over 35 Division 1 team who were up against arch rivals and Minor Premiers in Leichhardt Tigers. Leichhardt took the first meeting convincingly but the two matches were dominated and won by the Titans. The latter was the major semi final just two weeks ago. In front of a healthy crowd and on a sublime synthetic pitch it was the sky blues who took an early lead in the first few minutes. It didn't take long before they doubled that advantage. Cooks River continued to dominate but went into the break without extending the lead. Leichhardt managed to pull one back after the break but the Titans scored again to restore the 2 goal lead. The quality of the match was very high and the Titans should've put the game to bed. They were duly punished as the Tigers clawed a goal back. They were then reduced to ten men but somehow with a bit of fortune in the terrible conditions managed to equalise. Again the game looked destined to extra time much to the despair of the Titans who had enough chances to clearly win the game. With only seconds remaining Cooks River pressed forward one more time and a tough shot was parried by the Leichhardt keeper only for the Titans striker to rifle the ball inside the near post to clinch a memorable 4-3 win.
On Sunday, both Cooks River Grand Finals were played at Campbell Park in Chiswick. The sun was out but the wind was blowing a gale forcing the temperature down.
Our Under 15 Division 1 side were also attempting to go back to back. They kicked off at 10.30am against Earlwood with the wind in their backs. The first half was dominated by Cooks River and after 19 minutes they took the lead following a heap of pressure on the Earlwood defence and goal keeper. Several minutes later they scored a second which was a wonderful goal down the right hand side where the ball was whipped in and finished superbly first time. The continued to look for more goals while they had the wind and came close several times but the score remained 2-0 at the break. Earlwood got into the game in the second half with the aid of the wind. Cooks River seemed to handle the pressure but what seemed a clear handball to push the ball into the net went unnoticed and gave Earlwood a way back into the game. With 2 minutes left the Titans had a glorious chance to take the game with a one-on-one but the striker seemed to be fouled before getting a shot away which was saved by the keeper. In a terrible twist of luck, Earlwood scored again a minute later with seconds remaining to send the game into extra time. Cooks River had the wind in the first period of extra time but this time could not find a way through. In the second period, Earlwood put through a long ball which many thought was offside. The striker collided with the Titans keeper and the ball trickled into the goal to the devastation of the team.
At 2pm our All Age Sunday Division 2 team played against Minor Premiers Roselands. It was a team they always had a tough game against with two 1-1 draws and a 1-0 win to Roselands in the previous 3 encounters. Cooks River had the wind in the first half but the game was still very even with neither keeper really pressured. The best chance came from a long range volley by the Titans from way outside the box but the Roselands keeper saved superbly. The game went into half time deadlocked at 0-0. It only took 2 minutes after the break for the Raptors to hit the lead as a clever through ball put their striker through who finished well after just entering the box. As the game wore on, Cooks River started to push men forward as they went looking for an equaliser but Roselands held firm and continued to knock balls over the top whenever they regained possession. This frustrated the Titans but did create a few chances for Roselands with the assistance of the wind. Unfortunately for the sky blues the elusive goal could not be found and they ended up losing the match 1-0.
Well done once again to all 10 teams who made it to the semi finals, 7 teams made it to the Grand Final and huge congratulations to the three teams who were Champions for 2018; AA/8, O35/1 and O35/4s.