The Far North experienced torrential rain over the weekend marking it the wettest May in 96 years. So it was no surprise that games across all senior divisions were cancelled, marking the end of the first round of the Far North Queensland Football Competition.
Despite the blanket cancellations, two Edge Hill Tigers v Leichhardt Lions games managed to be played out during what seemed a relatively dry break in the weather.
The Under 18 match managed to escape with only light rainfall; the strong Leichhardt outfit claiming a 3 -1 win with goals from S. Kubo, H Browne and J Burton.
The Premier Women kicked off next on a considerably damp pitch and with wet conditions ensuing, the game resulted in Edge Hill’s favour in a 6-5 high-scoring affair that saw momentum swing from side to side.
Leichhardt gained an early lead in the first seven minutes of play with up and coming star Alicia Lazarus latching on to a through ball to break through the Tigers’ defence to place a cross-goal shot past goalkeeper Lindsey McKay.
But the reigning champions didn’t take long to show why they ran away with the spoils last season, picking up the majority of possession in the first half and issuing pressing attack and multiple shots on goals before coming away with a 3-1 lead at half time.
Staking their claim, the home side were on track to unleash a hefty upset for the visiting Lions, with talented forward Madonna Luhrs pocketing a brace in the opening 10 minutes pushing the Tigers to a 5-1 lead.
But as the rain turned from a light patter to a torrential downpour, the momentum shifted as the home side failed to play to the almost unplayable conditions, making critical errors across the pitch.
With pools of water forming all over the pitch and predominantly in the home side’s half, the Tigers faced an extra challenge that saw the ball stop dead in puddles on a number of occasions.
A beautifully executed corner off the boot of Natalie Fichera to skipper Stacey Jones who launched in full range to see a header hit the back of the net with unstoppable force, brought the score card to a more reasonable 5-2.
The second goal proved crucial, bolstering the visitor’s spirits who went on to issue an unanswered 15 minutes of attack resulting in a rapid three-goal sweep to even the score card to 5-all.
Both teams fought neck and neck through the rain to find the win which could have swung in either direction; the deciding goal coming controversially in the final five with veteran sweeper Teagan Walker launching her dangerous offensive attack through the middle of the pitch to find the net after what appeared to be an involuntary handball.
Reflecting on the outcome in a post-match interview, Tigers’ Coach Dean Ashton commented on the second half slaughter stating that his side failed to play to the conditions. Commending the squad for trying to stick to their professional style of play, he concluded that the remainder of the play “didn’t need to be pretty”.
“It’s a credit to the girls for trying to stick to their normal passing game, starting from the back and trying to roll the ball to feet,” Ashton explained.
“But the conditions were far from favourable to be playing our style of football.”
The win puts the Tigers into second place after the end of the first round, just one point from the top with a game in hand.