Well, it’s been a long hard road for the Shores United boys.
They have copped some lop-sided hidings over the years, but that all changed last Saturday at Oaks oval. To their credit the boys have stuck together through thick and thin, some of them since they were six.
In 2011 they just missed out on the semi-finals on goal difference, last year it happened again.
The Ocean Shores boys, headed by their long-time coach Tim Hays, had a fantastic year in 2013, finishing undefeated Minor Premiers and scoring a record 119 regular season goals. This was the most by any team, male or female, senior or junior, in the Far North Coast competition.
The 2013 grand final was their turn and they knew it, there was only one problem: their old enemy and arch rivals – Ballina.
The Shores boys had plenty to worry about too. In their last two meetings against Ballina they really struggled, only getting away with a 1–1 draw just two weeks ago, so the stage was set for an old-fashioned arm wrestle.
The huge crowd saw the Shores boys start on the back foot as Ballina threw everything, including the kitchen sink at them. The boys bent but held on. Then 15 minutes in, Bailey beat his man and set off down the right side, a great cross missed everyone, but not Lewis who pounded the ball in for Shores and set the crowd (and the bench) into raptures.
Not long after his brother Jarvis belted one from outside the penalty area, only to see it crash into the cross bar and just stay out.
Then came Ballina again. David, Theo, Julian, Callum and the defence worked like their lives depended on it, to keep Ballina out. Yet another raid down our left saw them equalise and at half time scores were level 1–1.
The Shores boys stayed focused at half time and with fire in their eyes, came out in the second half to dominate the match. By now the halves were giving Mondo plenty of ball and it was only a matter of time before he scored against Ballina.
About halfway through the second half, Mondo broke down the left side, turned the defence inside out and smashed the ball over the keeper’s head, Shores 2–1.
Then, as always, Ballina came back at the boys. The Shores lads worked and worked and time and again Ballina were turned back by their defence.
The Shores slowly shut them down and late on another great cross by Bailey saw Luka arrive on the far post just in time to knock it in 3–1, to complete a wonderful Grand Final win for Ocean Shores.
The celebrations were enough to bring a tear to your eyes. It’s been a long time coming.
Congratulations to the boys on a well deserved win.