2 out of 3 ain’t bad!
Vipers took home 2 of the 3 major awards on Saturday at Victorian Touch League finals held in Port Melbourne, with the club being crowned License/Permit Champions and Men’s Champions and with the Women’s team falling just short of back to back titles and a clean sweep of the major awards.
The day start with both teams enjoying each others company at team lunches before arrival at the fields to watch their opponents in the opening elimination finals and enjoying the luxury of a opening round bye before the semi’s, earned from finishing in the top two.
The women’s team would need to beat the youthful Uni team to advance to the final and a chance at back to back titles, which they did as the weather began to turn. They would face the benchmark women’s team in the final the Melb Lions whom only suffered there first defeat just one week earlier to Vipers leading into the finals. Once again the weather was not kind to the girls and the rain we had been waiting for over the last three months decided to turn up in during the game. The slippery conditions didn’t help the girls who struggled to hold the ball and convert opportunities and trailed into the half down 2-0. Still in with a shot the girls needed to control the ball and defend hard as this was never going to be an attacking match in the conditions, it was going to be about field position. Another TD to the Lions and the game all but looked gone until a 5 minute patch that resulted in two quick TD’s but time beat the ladies and they went down 3-2.
The men’s team having been the team to beat from the opening round would not settle for second although gave their opponents plenty of chances to do just that, the semi against Lions was a game of two contrasting halves of touch with pure brilliance in the 1st to lead 8-2 and pure rubbish in the second to win the match 9-8 and allow Lions a sniff of a major upset. Although having made it through to the final to play last years Premiers Western was the next task at hand and the main focus with the semi performance to be forgotten. The final was run at a quick pace for the first 5 minutes and was quicker then most had expected but entertaining and saw Western put on some quick TD’s to lead into the break 4-2 and in a handy position with 20 minutes to play. The half time peep talk seemed to inspire the boys with commitment and intensity the key to a victory. Western found themselves down to 4 players due to dissent which opened the door and allowed 3 quick TD’s to put Vipers ahead with time running out. Once again another Western player found themselves watching the match from the in-goal and Vipers eventually put on a couple more TD’s to skip away to a 8-5 buffer and eventually claim the match and title.
Brooke James also won the Best and Fairest Female player for 2009.
The celebrations continued well into the night through song and the communal Malibu jugs doing the rounds with all enjoying themselves. Full photo’s of the day and those which can be published from the celebrations will be posted shortly.