Royal Arsenal 3 Kool and the Gang 6
Royal Arsenal got the night of finals underway in a three-way playoff between themselves, Kool and the Gang and Steve Thorpe Destroyers.
Despite some spirited defending and some dramatic last-minute tags from George, the Royals never really got going in the shortened 20-minute game.
When Arsenal managed to move the ball along the line, the gaps started opening up and the tries started coming, but it wasn’t often enough in the first game to get the win.
Royal Arsenal 8 Steve Thorpe Destroyers 5
Luckily, RA didn’t have to wait long to make amends and came out against the STDs much better than in the first game.
Quick attacking moves were finished off by Kyle and Jenny and the defence held firm against a barrage of attacks.
If Royal Arsenal had put in more performances of this quality earlier in the season, they’d be true challengers for the title.
As it was, RA finished in 6th, although it could have been much higher if a couple of breaks had gone our way earlier in the season.
Players’ player of the season: George Sargent and Kyle Graham
Most improved: Jenny Goddard
Woolwich Arsenal 13 Tag Em and Bag Em 9
Since the third week of the season, Woolwich Arsenal have been on the warpath, marching straight through most of the league to reach the Grand Final and a shot at the Early Summer League title.
The opposition were Tag Em and Bag Em, a fiery side who had become known as much for their quick tempers as their undoubted talent.
WA proved last week they had what it took the beat the league leaders and went into the game full of confidence – but the pitch was largely quiet as the tense match kicked off.
It was end-to-end stuff in the opening period of the game, with both sides looking to make their presence felt and pick up early scores.
Woolwich managed to get the better of the early exchanges with Ashley adding to her impressive tally of tries this season and Ovie making a frequent menace of himself with bursts down the wing.
TEBE weren’t going down easily though, and looked focussed as they held onto the game in the first half, racking up some tries and going into the break just one point behind Woolwich at 4-3.
In the second period, the game really got going. Tired legs led to frequent breaks by both sides, but WA’s defending was fantastic led by tagging extraordinaires Katie and Gary, who single- handedly snuffed out several TEBE attacks, even when pressed back on their own goal line.
TEBE tempers started flaring once again as the game went on, leading to handling errors, penalties for fending plenty else besides. But as their opponents lost their cool, Woolwich kept their heads and kept applying the pressure.
A breakaway by standout player Julia turned the game on its head as she broke through the middle before offloading the ball to Christian who finished off the move and extended the gap between the sides to three points.
And from there, the game was no longer in doubt. Jules was brilliant in the middle of the field, tagging everyone within arms’ reach and moving the ball well in attack.
Errol and Christian added some extra attacking flair when it was needed and the whole team held together as a unit to finish of the game clear winners.
Plenty of drinks flowed in the aftermath as Julia deservedly earned player of the match.
And there was medals for all the WA players in the bar afterwards, marking a massive achievement for the side who finished dead last in the league the season before.
Players’ player of the season: Ashley Carson
Most improved: Jules Gillette
Report by Joel Watson