Saturday was the most action-packed day at the 2023 Champion of Champions tournament yet, with 24 matches being contested at the Coffs Coast Synthetics facility on Saturday.
There were 55 goals scored across the day and 11 clean sheets were kept as the boys' teams did well to produce some top-quality football in testing windy conditions.
The teams for four of Sunday's five finals have been locked in, with only the under-13s division spots up for grabs during the sides’ seventh pool games this morning.
An exciting final day of the tournament is certainly in store as we get set to crown five champions.
Under-12s Boys: Bulls and Bellingen book in a finals battle
The Iona SC Bulls finished day five of the tournament on top of the under-12s boys table following an undefeated campaign so far.
The Bulls went into the day having won all of their first three matches, and they drew 1-1 with second-placed side Bellingen FC during the afternoon following their bye earlier in the day.
That result saw them finish on top of the table with 10 points, while Bellingen placed second just three points back on seven after they scored a crucial 2-0 win against Alstonville FC earlier in the day.
The other morning match was won 2-1 by Northern Storm FC over Coffs City United FC, and Alstonville bounced back from their morning loss with a 3-0 victory against Coffs City United.
Alstonville and Northern Storm placed third and fourth, just one point behind Bellingen, while Coffs City United finished the tournament ranked fifth on zero points.
Sunday’s first-versus-second final will see the Iona SC Bulls and Bellingen meet again, with the stakes much greater this time around.
Under-13s Boys: Three teams remain in finals contention following an action-packed day
Twelve under-13s boys' matches were contested during day five of the 2023 Champion of Champions tournament on Saturday, the most on a single day of any division at the event.
Six of the eight teams managed to register at least one win on the day, but only one of them was able to score three wins. Coffs City United FC was the team that prevailed 2-1 against Valentine FC, 1-0 against Nelson Bay FC and 2-1 against Iona SC Victory.
Alstonville FC and Iona SC Roar also had an undefeated day as they scored two wins before they met one another in their third and final encounter of the day and drew 1-1. Alstonville downed Maitland JFC 3-1 and Iona SC Victory 1-0, while the Roar beat Norths United FC 3-1 and Maitland JFC 2-1.
The Victory edged out Nelson Bay 1-0 on Saturday morning before they lost their next two matches, Norths United and Valentine drew 1-1. Nelson Bay scored their first win of the tournament when they downed Norths United 4-2, and Maitland wrapped up the day with a 1-0 victory over Valentine.
Remarkably, despite all those fixtures, the top two are not yet locked in and the finals race has come down to the final morning.
There are three pool matches scheduled for 9am and another at 9:50am, but it’s the 9am matches that will determine who will battle for the championship later in the day.
Undefeated duo Alstonville (16 points) and Iona SC Roar (14 points) are ranked first and second, and Coffs City United are breathing down their necks on 13 points.
Alstonville and Coffs meet first-up this morning in what is a blockbuster contest to kick off the day, while the Roar play against Valentine in what could be a must-win game.
Any two of the three top-ranked teams can still reach the decider, making this Sunday morning’s matches highly-anticipated.
Under-14/15s Boys: Change in the draw sees the finals arrive early
The under-14/15s teams will all play finals matches on Sunday morning from 9:50am when they were initially scheduled to play their sixth pool games.
With two under-14s teams and two under-15s sides in the division, they were both always locked in to meet in their respective deciders. With an all-under-14s match and an all-under-15s fixture scheduled for this morning, a decision was made to play those games as the finals rather than play them as a pool game and then meet again in the deciders later in the day.
Alstonville FC heads into the under-15s match off the back of a dominant campaign so far. They went through their five matches undefeated as they scored four wins and a draw to finish with 13 of a maximum of 15 points.
They took on both under-14s teams on Saturday and edged out Byron Bay FC 1-0 before contesting a 0-0 draw against Coffs City United FC.
Their under-15s final opponents Woolgoolga United FC ended up ranked bottom of the under-14/15s table, but they enter the match in good form after they scored their first win of the tournament when they downed Byron Bay FC 3-0.
Coffs City United and Byron Bay finished ranked second and third on the table and are both pumped for Sunday’s under-14s decider.
Coffs went undefeated against the under-15s duo as they knocked off Woolgoolga 2-1 before they drew 0-0 against table-topping Alstonville.
Coffs racked up eight points across the three days after scoring two wins, two draws and just one loss, while Byron Bay finished on four points following a win, a draw and three losses.
Sunday’s under-14s and under-15s deciders are both expected to be crackers and will surely kick-start the finals proceedings in style.
Under-16s Boys: The finals race goes right down to the wire
The finals race in the under-16s Boys division was red-hot and went all the way to the final whistle on day five.
Bangalow FC went into the day having won both of their games so far but went down 1-0 against Bolwarra Lorn JSC in their morning match, while Coffs Coast Tigers FC and Bellingen FC drew 2-2 as Port United FC sat out with a bye.
Those results saw Bolwarra head into the fourth and final pool matches ranked first on seven points, one clear of Bangalow and three ahead of Port United. The Tigers and Bellingen were too far back, so it was a three-horse race during the afternoon matches for the two finals spots.
Bangalow knew they just needed to win their match against Bellingen and they got the job done as a 30th-minute Remy Bisogni goal was the difference in a 1-0 victory.
Port United were three points behind Bolwarra, and with the tie-breaker being a head-to-head result, a win was enough to send Port through to the final whereas Bolwarra required either a draw or a win. It was Port who got the job done after Max Gardner scored five minutes into the second stanza and his side held on to win 1-0.
The day five results saw Bangalow top the group with nine points, Port United (second) and Bolwarra (third) accumulate seven points each, Coffs Coast Tigers end up on three points and Bellingen finishes with one point.
Bangalow and Port United met in their first game of the tournament on Thursday afternoon, and now they meet again with the championship on the line on Sunday from 10:40am.
Explainer: How the Champion of Champions works
The Northern NSW Football Champion of Champions tournament brings together the best youth community football teams from across our seven Member Zones top competitions, to challenge for the title of Champion of Champions in their age group!
In a change to previous formats, in 2023 all clubs are invited to enter any teams currently competing in their Member Zone’s top division and challenge for the title of Champion of Champions.
The final format, number of competing teams and age groups are finalised and advised once all registrations have been received.
More about the 2023 Champion of Champions tournament can be found HERE.
Key Champion of Champions Information:
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