The final round of the inaugural Challenge Cup has wrapped up, and with that, we’re officially done. All clubs embraced the concept, and it was great to see teams taking advantage of the incentive to increase participation. As always, all the scores, ladders and scoring charts can be found over on the Challenge Cup page. You can also have your say on the first ever Challenge Cup over on the Challenge Cup forum.
Glenelg vs North
Glenelg and North had the privilege of kicking off the final round of Challenge Cup, with both teams still in with a shot of taking out the overall crown. Both teams started well, but it wasn’t long before Glenelg started to build a solid lead. Tight Glenelg defence didn’t allow North too many easy shots, with just 6 close goals scored in regular time for North. Glenelg, on the other hand, were able to attack through their strengths, and used this advantage to kick on to a sizable lead. As the match began to get away from them, North again went hunting for the two point goals, with only Darian Huddleston finding any success. Ultimately, Glenelg proved to be too strong, leading the match 20-11 at the end of regular time.
Golden Goal went the way so many do, with Glenelg missing on their first opportunity to attack, giving North the chance to win the bonus point. North took full advantage, scoring on their first opportunity, and winning the bonus Challenge Cup point. This marks the third time, from three opportunities, North has won Golden Goal in the Challenge Cup. Both teams also took full advantage of the opportunity to play 12 or more players, and each team took home a bonus point for their efforts.
Boomers vs Arista
Boomers and Arista had the late game, and the advantage of knowing what was required for overall victory. Unfortunately for Boomers, the Glenelg win had ensured they could not take the overall win, while Arista would require a win and all possible bonus points in order to guarantee the Challenge Cup. Boomers did not let this affect their performance, however, and fought hard from the opening whistle, while Arista had everything to play for. The result was a high tempo game, if not high scoring. Defense was tight, and offensive rebounds were hard to come by. Neither team was able to build a sizable lead at any point, and at the final siren, Boomers were up by a goal, 14-13.
Golden Goal was next, and it was almost a carbon copy of the earlier match. Boomers attacked first, and were unable to score, while Arista managed to score a goal on their first opportunity, winning their first Golden Goal bonus point all competition. This made the score after Golden Goal 14-14, which according to the originally published rules, means the match is recorded as a draw, the first of the Challenge Cup. With both teams using 12 or more players, and receiving that bonus Challenge Cup point, the overall championship picture was now very tight, as Arista had not taken all possible points from the match.
After three tight rounds of Challenge Cup, the final ladder is remarkably close. With both Glenelg and Arista failing to take all possible points from their final matches, they ended up in a tie for top spot, just as they were at the start of the round. However, Glenelg’s convincing win ensured they improved their goal difference significantly, meaning the 2018 Challenge Cup Champions are Glenelg! This highlights the importance of the bonus points, as despite losing one more match than Arista, Glenelg were able to keep pace thanks to winning more Golden Goals. Arista finish in second spot, while Boomers and North finish tied on points, Boomers edging ahead on goal difference.
Daniel Phillips picked up overall scoring honours, with 13 points, despite not scoring a single two pointer. Daniel also leads the one-point field goal charts, with 12, while Darian Huddleston finishes the competition as the leading two-point goal scorer, with 4.
That’s it for the inaugural Challenge Cup, and congratulations to Glenelg. The competing teams will now rejoin State League, with Round 10 taking place at The Hub Recreation Centre, in Aberfoyle Park, on July 8, where the Challenge Cup will be awarded. Complete stats from the Challenge Cup, including all the scores, ladders and scoring charts can be found over on the Challenge Cup page, where they will remain for the rest of the year. Don’t forget, you can also share your thoughts on the first ever Challenge Cup over on the Challenge Cup forum.