Reigning champions Millthorpe Tigers are only one win away from claiming back-to-back A grade titles in the Orange District Football Association – but there is plenty of action to happen before anyone celebrates.
A three-goal second half blitz saw the Tigers run away from Barnstoneworth United 4-1 at Redmond Oval in Millthorpe on Saturday afternoon.
In doing so, they have gained a week’s rest while Barnstoneworth will back up against Waratah FC next week to decide Millthorpe’s opponent in the grand final.
Waratah FC beat Barnstoneworth FC 1-0 in the other semi-final, a tight tussle at Waratah Sports Ground.
Millthorpe captain Jacob Evans said they would enjoy the week’s rest ahead of their title defence.
“It’s good, we are excited to be back in the grand final again,” he said.
“It’s nice to have a week off, this year we had that as our goal, to get that week off.”
Evans said last year Millthorpe had to go through the play-off final to make the grand final but it had suited them then.
“I think it comes down to the team at the time,” he said.
The semi-final started well for the Tigers with a goal off a deflection in the first 15 minutes.
He said Barnies kept them under pressure throughout the rest of the half and scored an equaliser for a 1-1 half-time score.
We are excited to be back in the grand final again.Jacob Evans, Millthorpe Tigers captain
“We went into the dressing sheds at half-time feeling pretty confident,” Evans said.
That was proven right when they stepped away to a 3-1 lead before a wonderful goal from Tom Dale sealed the victory late in the game.
Evans said the team had four different goal scorers which proved their versatility.
And he praised the defence which held a willing Barnies attack to the one goal, despite missing both regular centre-back players for the game.
He said Simon Wright and Jordan Smith stepped up into the centre-back positions to defend well.
Evans said he did not have any preference for which of the two remaining finalists Millthorpe would play in the grand final.
He said he expected next week’s final would come down to fitness and player availability.
“We’re not focussing on them too much, we’ve been there before enough times,” he said.
It turned out to be a mixed day for Millthorpe Tigers with the over 35’s team going down to Barnestoneworth United in a high scoring 6-4 loss.
The game was played before the A grade fixture.
Millthorpe will now play Waratahs who beat Denley Moor Academicals 4-3.
Barnstoneworth United is also through to the B grade grand final with a 2-1 win over CYMS Pink.
CYMS Pink will play Ex-Services next week after Ex-Services beat CYMS Little Johns 2-0.
In C grade division 1 Saints (B) has qualified for the grand final after beating Blayney 2-1.
Blayney will now face Waratah Strikers to decide a grand final place after the Strikers beat Ex-Services (B) 2-0.
Meanwhile, Blayney has won through to the grand final in C Grade division 2.
It beat CYMS The Hood 3-2.
CYMS The Hood will back up against Waratah Eagles after the Eagles clinched a 1-0 win over Waratah Wolves.
CYMS also beat Saints Turbulence 2-1 in an A grade consolation game.
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