There were cheers, thrills, the occasional spill, but above all an atmosphere of celebration as the first Touch Football NSW All Schools Finals in three years took centre stage on the Central Coast on Tuesday.
Flying the flag for Port Stephens were the years 9 and 10 girls from Tomaree High School who got their chance to compete against the best from around the state thanks to some outstanding form at local qualifying rounds earlier this year.
The girls showed their grit and skill in defeating Figtree High School in Wollongong 11-2 to make the state final, which was held at Central Coast Regional Sporting Complex on August 2.
Forty-two teams of year 7-8, 9-10 girls and boys from schools across the state played in the knockout final.
Drawn in a pool that included Kildare Catholic College and Narrabeen Sports High, the Tomaree team gave a great account to finish in a highly creditable fourth spot in their group on points difference.
Along the way they defeated Taree High (5-2), thrashed Kingscliff (7-nil), and inflected the only loss on James Sheahan (2-1) which would top the group before bowing out in the semi-finals to eventual division champions Hunter Sports High.
Touch Football NSW game development officer Deacon Cameron was thrilled with a successful finals event.
"This was touch football at its finest and it was a fantastic day with all the schools involved having a great day. It was fantastic to see the skills on display with all games played in the right spirit," he said.
Touch Football NSW state participation manager Rob Pidgeon felt the event underscored the growing popularity of the sport within the NSW school system.
"Despite an absence of over 1000 days it was clear that the skills of our young footballers have not diminished," he said.
"Touch Football NSW is delighted to give an opportunity for the very best school players to come together and play in a fun but competitive environment.
"I would like to thank all the competitors, officials, supporters and teachers. It was a wonderful day and we look forward to doing it all again at the 2023 NSW All Schools Finals."
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