Touch Football

It’s a rivalry as intense and as old as Batman vs The Joker; Capulet vs Montague; Pepsi vs Coca-Cola; Holden vs Ford; NSW vs QLD; DC vs Marvel; Netflix vs Stan. Yes, that’s right. Last weekend, OC came face to face with long-time rivals, JPC (JPC…isn’t that a brand of canned spaghetti?). With four wins, one draw and one loss, our Redbacks dominated Slytherin, sorry… I mean, JPC on their home turf.

“You’ll get nothing and like it!” That was the unspoken mantra of our Year 7As, who took to the field like a wrecking ball, defeating their foes 14-1. Despite the artic temperature and dewy grass, the girls began the game in true ninja-warrior style, rucking up the field and scoring in the first set. From here, nothing could stop the dream team, as the recipe to success included: three tries each from Nena Williamson and Captain Maya Sheil, two tries a piece from Georgia Hewitt, Jodeci Perenara and Lucy Thomson, and a try from Danielle McBain, Ally Bannister and Maree Wright. Overall, the girls played great as a team and should be proud of their efforts. Huge thanks to Mr Peterman for coaching the team in Chantelle’s absence.

Meanwhile, on the opposite field, the intensity of the Year 10 game was as palpable as a quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Artful dodging from newcomer Hannah Thaesler, twin telepathy from the McPhees and the celerity of Captain Gabby Jones, had JPC supporters screaming "Not happy Jan!" from the side-lines. Yet, for each OC touchdown, JPC seemed to throw one back and at half time the Redbacks were down 2-3. The team really picked up their defensive game on the wings in the second half; while in attack, quick rucking opened up quick breaks. At one point, Amy Mavin made a quick break from half way and off loaded just in time to Zona Lee who proceeded to score a try. While Bronte McPhee eluded two JPC middles by throwing a dummy and running straight through their defences to score a try. By the full-time whistle, OC had made an exciting Rocky-like comeback, defeating their rivals 6-5.

In an act of true sportswomanship, our Year 8 Redbacks permitted JPC – who only had six players – play up two Year 7s to stack their numbers. Remembering last year’s 14-2 victory over their JPC rivals, the Year 8s confidently took to the field. However, despite excellent ninja-style rucking skills from the middles and links (especially Sophie Mitchell) and convincing touchdowns from Clara McAllister and Captain, Emily Carter, our Year 8s were unable to fight back from a 9-2 defeat. While it would be easy to blame our bleeding hearts for the loss, it was clear that our JPC opponents out-skilled us on the day. At the very least, we can hold our heads high, having taken the moral high ground, and hope, that should we be in the same position in the future, our maroon and blue counterparts will afford us the same consideration we showed them.

The Seconds came away with a historic first-time victory over JPC in a 3-nil whitewash. It was clear from the start, that JPC had three speedy gonzales athletes, but good defensive pressure from OC nullified their runs and stopped their attacking moves. In attack, OC kept possession and rucked well, setting up the perfect opportunity for team captain, Emily Stone, to score the first try of the match minutes before the half time whistle. OC was ready to ‘bring it on’ in the second half. Evasive runs from Isabel Courtney, excellent offense work from Alissa Pilgrim and Amy Clift, and a 40 metre break up the middle by Maddi Pitt eventually resulted in a definitive touchdown by Katie Jones and a corner try from a very fresh and tanned looking, Teahna Bouradas, who had just stepped off the plane from Greece the night before. By the full-time whistle, it was all Greek to JPC, while for OC it was Hundro P.

In the Year 9 match, there was no need to consult the magic mirror on the wall and ask who was the fairest of them all, as our Year 9s, clearly the best and fairest (said without bias of course), blew their opponents away with a 13-0 victory. Quick plays and fast-paced rucking from OC had JPC sidelines in silence, as nearly all our girls managed to walk away with a try under their belt. Most Valuable player goes to Ellie Hobbs, who was outstanding on the field in rucking, assisting and setting up plays for her team. Well done girls.

The Firsts were buoyed for their clash against JPC after pushing perennial powerhouse St. Columban’s all the way in a tough encounter the week before. Last year OC fell by two touchdowns to the Polynesian flair on display by Daisy Hill’s best, but with six returning players from the 2016 Firsts and four up and coming stars, the girls were confident that they could win away from home. In a fast-paced game that tested the athleticism of both teams (and the refs), the Firsts found themselves evenly matched with their JPC opponents, like Hector and Achilles. The first ten minutes were oscillating as both teams tried to establish dominance, with neither team buckling. The Redbacks relied heavily on ball movement and fierce rucking as they looked to gain control of the match, but it would be JPC who would score first. Ormiston bounced back almost immediately with touchdowns from new recruit Alexandra Neate and inspirational skipper Victoria Winstanley. The halftime score read two apiece, and it was anyone’s game going into the second half. The second half continued in the same vein with each team going toe to toe with touchdowns. At 5-5 it would take a moment of brilliance, and Maddy Calvert delivered with a blistering charge past an offside JPC player to give the girls a 6-5 lead late in the match. Unfortunately, the dark side would strike back soon after, and as the final hooter sounded, the score read 6-6. Alexandra Neate was the undoubted star of the match with her boundless energy and awe-inspiring agility on show for all to see. Maddy Calvert backed up her MVP performance from the week before to also play a major role in the match. Alena Olds was busy as always, and made a spectacular play in defence to deny an almost certain JPC try. Second year player Natasha Pimley is also coming into her own and starting to exhibit her wide array of skills in both attack and defence. While newcomer Caitlin Newbury made her mark with a try of her own in the second. All in all, it was a superb performance (despite the draw) and one that should fill the girls with even more confidence for the matches ahead.

Lastly, on the other side of town, the Year 7B touch team braved a very cold early morning start at the St Paul's playing fields at Bald Hills. It was definitely worth the effort, as the girls produced a solid performance to win 8-0. Annie Bretz takes the Most Valuable Player award for her reliability and strength in the middle of the field. Katie Jacobsen, Madison Kyranides, Jacinta Fisher, Annie Bretz and Kiarah Upston scored touchdowns this week. But as we know, it takes a whole team to produce such a fine result, so we acknowledge the consistent hard work and communication by Sahara Surman and Abigail Jackson. Congratulations all round!
Overall, it’s always exciting and highly satisfying to invade and conquer another’s homeland – and conquer we did! All girls should be proud of their efforts in Round 2; it was great to see teamwork, fair play and passion on the field.

Ms Melodie Nelson
TAS Girls Touch Football Coordinator