Flying Bats Victory
Photography by Kerry Fluhr
Sydney's Flying Bats capped a huge season on Sunday with two Championship wins in the North West Sydney Women's Football league Grand Finals in Division 5 and Over 35s Division 1, also taking the Premiership trophy in Division 4 and O351.
Both finals went into extra time with scores drawn 1-all at the whistle -- Div 5 won it with a golden goal in the 92nd minute against the Gladesville Ravens and O351 emerged truimphant from a penalty shootout after 20 minutes extra time, landing 3 kicks to Putney FC's 1.
Special mention to Bats goalie Shaz, who was cool under pressure and captained her side through an incredible undefeated season in which they didn't drop a single game, ending Gladesville's stranglehold on the trophy.
Over 35's Division 2 came very close to snatching an upset win from Premiers Roselea in their Grand Final, but were pipped in the final 10 minutes with a kick within a whisker of offside. Division 4 were knocked out of the Championship in a gripping semi-final last week but lifted the Premier's trophy after dominating for most of the season, while Division 8 rallied in the playoffs to take the Pennant.
It was the club's most successful year on record and a wonderful preparation for the second annual Pride Football Australia tournament, which kicks off in Melbourne on October 4, pitting the Bats and Sydney Rangers FC against the Melbourne Rovers, said Flying Bats president Alicia Rich.
"It's been an immense season for the Bats, fielding seven teams for the first time and having such success across the board," said Rich. "We had a solid first season in Division 1, two teams emerge as Premiers and three make the Grand Finals, as well as winning the Pennant in Div 8. I couldn't be prouder."
The club also took Division 2 silver at this year's World Outgames in Belgium, giving their medals to Russia's fourth-placed Division 1 team FC Krylya in solidarity at the draconian new anti-gay laws passed by their government ahead of next year's Sochi winter Olympics. Rich said it was a testament to their sporting spirit and football's message of unity.
The Bats' Pride Football team begins training this week, hoping to lift the Julie Murray Cup after a 2-2 draw last year.
"Hopefully the momentum of this amazing season will spur us to victory in Melbourne," said Rich. "We'd love to bring the trophy back to Sydney to make it a Premiers-Champions-Pride trifecta."