The jubilant Tigers celebrate clinching the league title
Balmain clinched the NSW Division 3 championship on Sunday, taking home the title with a tense 1-0 victory away to Lithgow. Knowing that their title rivals were almost certain to win against lowly opposition, you could forgive the unusually quiet Tigers fans as they nervously milled around the stadium. They need not have feared though as big Dan Hanusek settled the nerves after 10 minutes when he turned his marker around 25 yards out and smashed an unstoppable low drive past the Lithgow keeper. The Tigers then proceeded to squander more than a handful of chances to finish the game off, both before and after the half time interval. With Lithgow typically fighting to the end the Balmain defence of Chris Grayson, Eamonn Byrne, Keith Agnew, and Daniel Ault were magnificent, not allowing Lithgow a single shot at goal during the second half. Finally as the clock ticked past the 49th minute of the second period, and the travelling Tigers faithful whistled until they were blue in the face, the referee blew time and crowned Balmain champions. In a team of giants, Daniel Ault stood tall to claim the Exchange Hotel man of the match award. Needless to say the streets of Balmain were lined with delirious fans as the victorious Tigers returned to the Exchange Hotel for a night that will live long in Balmain’s memory.
Due to the Aussie soccer teams’ early exits from the Olympic games, the SBS crew was able to cover some of the match, and we should have highlights available in our gallery later this week.
If you would like to pass on your congratulations to the Tigers, your can post a message here in the forum.
Somewhat overshadowed by the first team’s achievements on the day, the reserve team put in their best performance in weeks as they demolished Lithgow 6-0. Bolstered by the return of Czech superstar Honza Capek, who had spent six weeks trapped inside a tanning salon in Prague, the Tigers looked to be more dangerous up front. So it proved as they took the lead with a 1st minute goal to Alex Shain followed by a Jem Richardson header that made it 2-0 before five minutes had passed. Despite many good chances, they could not add to the lead until after the break when part time striking sensation Svenaldo was brought on for the injured Steele Bonus. Svenaldo added two goals in quick succession and the scoring was wrapped up with goals to Shain and Paul Ritchie. Ritchie was awarded the man of the match award for a fine display in midfield.