Gympie State High School welcomed back its under-15 boys’ futsal team as champions yesterday after the team won the Australasian Champion of Champions tournament over the weekend.
Led by captain Billy Bayldon, the side recovered from three straight losses midway through the tournament, held in Ipswich, to become the 2012 grand final winners above some of the country’s best school teams.
Perhaps the biggest victory for the side came in the knockout final against long-time rival Toowoomba Grammar School.
Gympie turned around a 2-0 halftime deficit to claim a 3-2 victory.
It was an impressive achievement as the Gympie boys wrangled three goals in a shortened 20-minute half due to the tournament introducing reduced game times.
Gympie upped the pressure again with two more goals as Toowoomba was forced to change tactic and adopt a defensive roll while still proving aggressive in the attack, however they were unable to add to their tally.
Coach Geoff Haig said while the Toowoomba victory was played out for the final, the competition was so intense that it felt like a grand final for the Gympie side.
It was a goal by Gympie’s Daniel Robinson, which Haig said Toowoomba’s tough goal keeper should have had, that got Gympie back in the game and Toowoomba hitting the panic buttons.
He said the teams for the two schools had been about level-pegging over the past few years, with Toowoomba knocking Gympie High out of the Australasian Championship by only one goal last year.
The final round win over Toowoomba saw Gympie pitted against Brisbane school Ferny Grove State High School in the grand final, which ended with Gympie dismissing the competition by the tune of 5-3.
The grand final was yet another pressure cooker for Gympie, which again was down at half time.
Gympie’s defence, spearheaded by goalkeeper Josh Truda, blocked Ferny Grove from doing further damage in the second half while chalking up the winning two goals themselves.
Haig said Truda’s point-blank defence was “fearless,” and his effort was proven by bruises on his legs; the result of three days’ worth of hits to the legs from blocked attempts at goal.
Bayldon’s weekend was made all the better after being announced as one of five All Stars of the competition.
Bayldon’s stand-out performance put him on the list as one of the top five players in the tournament.
Haig said it was a bonus for both Bayldon and the Gympie team to know that while two of Toowoomba’s players were named among the five, they were still able to create the tournament win over a school, which is well-recognised for its level of sporting talent.
The under-15 boys’ players have earned a name for themselves in a long list of successful futsal teams at Gympie State High School, as they are the only team that has won every tournament they have entered this year.
The Australasian Championships title followed wins at South East Queensland and Sunshine Coast schools tournaments, both of which were qualifying rounds for the Champion of Champions tournament.