By Jamie Regan
Raroa Intermediate held their nerve in a close penalty shootout to overcome Auckland Normal Intermediate 4-3 and win gold in the 2016 NZCT Aims Games girls’ football.
It was more one-sided in the boys’ final, however, as Northcross comprehensively beat Sacred Heart 3-0 at Bay Oval.
Roroa were penned in their own half for much of the game and had to defend resolutely as Auckland Normal controlled the midfield battle.
However, Auckland Normal will look back on missed opportunities as they hit the frame of the goal three times in normal time alone, which left the scores nil-all.
As the match went to penalties, Raroa keeper Olivia Empson pulled off a stunning save first-up, with Auckland once again being denied by the post on their second attempt.
Raroa captain Amanda Parlane says that everyone in the team was overwhelmed with the win.
“It’s just amazing – it’s such a good feeling,” Parlane said. “It was a really intense game; our toughest by far. We have also talked to them (Auckland) during the tournament and they became friends of ours. We had to defend really well but we did it in the end.”
The boys’ final proved to be mostly one-way traffic, meanwhile, as Northcross took advantage of some early dominance against their Auckland rivals.
Karl Place slotted home a goal in the first 10 minutes, with Sacred Heart looking shaky at the back.
Luke Allport then took advantage of a lapse in concentration from the Sacred defence, as the ball broke free and he found himself one on one with the keeper, Allport eased his shot past Yannik Pocock to make it 2-0 going into the halftime interval.
Northcross picked up where they left off after the break, with Sam McIntosh scoring courtesy of a precise through ball from Allport, leaving Sacred wondering what went wrong.
Winning captain Chase Taylor said they knew it would be a tough tournament before the week started.
“We didn’t think we could win it but we just gave 100 percent every game and tried our best,” Taylor said.
Somerville Intermediate claimed bronze in both the girl’s and boy’s division.
By Jamie Regan