In 2016 the over 45s were able to form a squad of 2 teams, the reserve grade playing at 1 pm and the first grade at 3 pm, for the first time in club history.
At the start of the season, the division 2 and 3 competitions were split into northern and southern section, with the top 4 teams in each section after the first 7 rounds then forming an 8 team division 2 (for both firsts and reserves) and the remaining teams forming division 3.
The 3 pm team started the season slowly and needed a 2-0 win over West Pymble in round 7 to qualify for division 2. The results of matches against other teams that qualified for division 2 were counted in the division 2 (first grade) competition table, so Wahroonga started the second part of the season in division 2 but on the bottom of the table with just the solitary point from a draw against St Ives.
In contrast, the 1 pm team had won all their matches apart from a 4-1 loss to Kissing Point.
Once the division 2 reserve grade competition began, Wahroonga went on a long unbeaten streak. Time and again matches that look lost were won, or a draw achieved, by second half comebacks and late goals. Being down 2-0 was no obstacle – first a 2-2 draw was achieved against North Sydney and then later in the season, on a day when due to injury and absences almost every player who turned up played at least part of both the 1 pm and 3 pm matches, a 2-0 deficit against Prouille was turned into a 6-2 win.
Eventually the reserve team had to lose and St Michaels beat them in a tight match 2-0. But in the end the championship came down to a crisp Monday night at Cammeray, when Wahroonga, 1st on the table, met Kissing Point, 2nd, in a postponed match that was also the final match of the season (apart from finals). If we won or drew the match, the title would be won, but if Kissing Point won, they would be champions. But, as someone mentioned before the match, Kissing Point could do the whinging (and they are very good at it) but Wahroonga would do the winning. A 4-1 win meant that Wahroonga were the champions.
The 3 pm team had continued their sluggish start to the season by losing 2 of their first 3 matches in division 2 proper, meaning that after 6 competition matches we only had 4 points. But a run of 5 wins and a draw saw us surge up the table, with a particularly memorable day at Tunks Park when Wahroonga outplayed and outfought the runaway competition leaders North Sydney, giving them a 4-1 trouncing. A draw against Kissing Point ensured that we were in the semi-finals, finishing 3rd.
A Friday evening at Blackman saw both teams playing in semi-finals. First up were the 1pm team, who fell behind against Lindfield before coming back to win 3-1 and move into the final. Next up were the 3 pm team, who were up against Prouille, to whom we had unluckily lost 3-2 and then drawn 1-1 with during the season. We lead 1-0 at half time and then 2-0 early in the second half but a couple of injuries and a couple of lucky Prouille goals meant it was 2-2 after 90 minutes. The fact that the lights were going to be turned off meant that there was no extra time, so it was straight to penalties. Twice we missed but were reprieved by Prouille misses but it was third time unlucky when our miss was answered by a successfully Prouille penalty and they won the shoot out 6-5.
So it was on to the final for the division 2 reserve grade competition. On a chilly evening at Charles Bean Wahroonga Tigers ran out 5-0 winners against Kissing Point to clinch the double. A great team effort to end a great season.
At the team’s end of season dinner, the following awards were presented.
1 pm team (reserve grade)
Rookie of Year: Ben Goh
Manager’s Pick: Angus Carson
Golden Boot: Xiaojian Chen (CJ)
Players’ Player: Victor Tello
3pm team (first grade)
Rookie of Year: Wayne Golledge
Manager’s Pick: Neil Richardson
Golden Boot: Eric Geniaux
Players’ Player: Gordon Hale
All in all 2016 was a great season, both on and off the pitch with a great spirit in the squad.
The over 45 reserve grade team after their 5-0 win in the final.