The Eagle has landed! United Park Eagles (UPE) have arrived as a Football Bundaberg superpower after completing a dominant season across the board.
UPE won four of the five senior grand finals on the weekend – Wide Bay Premier, Two and Ladies Leagues, and Bundaberg Ladies – losing only in the Men’s League to Brothers-Aston Villa (BAV).
They also took out the Wide Bay Under-14 Champions Cup after winning the Bundaberg under-14 grand final a week earlier, and were beaten in the Bundaberg under-16 and 13 grand finals, and had a second Men’s team which was beaten in extra-time in the semi-finals, two other under-16 sides, and a second under-13 outfit which was also beaten in the semi-finals.
This was only UPE’s sixth season since being formed by a merger of the North Bundaberg Eagles and Moore Park Beach club.
Their first Premier League silverware outfit included seven players who were part of the side which lost the then Three Cities League grand final to BAV in their debut season five years ago – captain Jake Davis and his younger brother Brendan, Chris McKenzie, Josh Adcock, Anthony Grant, Lynton Seary and Joel Porch.
Their Premier side came from fourth on the ladder to shock champions Bingera 2-0 in the semi-finals with a double to Brendan Davis, then came back from 3-1 down to Across The Waves early in the second half in the grand final to finish with a wet sail and run out 5-3 victors.
Captain Jake, who succumbed to an ankle injury in the 70th minute and was replaced by coach Scott Bretag who was ultimately the match winner with goals in the 78th and 89th minutes, described the result as “massive”.
“It was really part of a five-10-year plan for the club and to come as far as we did all, and it all boiled down to the final moment, was amazing,” Jake said.
Jake said they had only lost to Bingera 2-1 twice in the regular season, both with last minute goals, and they knew they could beat them if they stuck to their game plan, then they never lost the faith even when Waves struck a massive blow with their third goal in the decider.
“3-1 wasn’t good but all we talked about at half-time was that if we used the wind to good effect, it was a 3-goal game – we learnt a lesson in the Bingera game early year that we had to play it out to the end and we knew if we played to time, we would get on track,” he said.
UPE were without their No. 1 keeper Tim Fulton, who had been great all season but was unfortunately suspended after being sent off in the semi-final, but Jake always had confidence in his replacement Roger Hunter.
“Roger is usually one of our strikers but in his previous life he was a keeper and he’s a big leader in club and I knew he could do the job,” he said.
Luke Coates who scored the goal to get them back to 3-2 in the 56th minute, which Jake described as “the turning point”, took out the Player of the Final award despite Jacob Fripp scoring their first and third goals in what was his club swansong as he is returning to Brisbane.
But Jake said “the whole squad had their moments”.
“Luke and Jacob were our two midfield maestros, Josh Adcock, our Golden Boot, just keeps getting better and better, my younger brother Brendan really proved his worth at the end of the season, and our back 4 know each other well and have been very good – Justin Ryan on the right, Joel Porch and Ankit Baral in the centre, and Lynton Seary on the left,” he said.
Jake also paid tribute to Scott Bretag, who also owns Pulse Electrical but also finds the time to devote countless hours to the club and has down great things in his two years at the helm.
“Scott was a Bundy boy who went to Brisbane and was a powerhouse in the Premier League down there with Bayside and a few others, and he returned to Bundy and played originally for Bingera but he had a vision to coach and improve the standard in the local area and he couldn’t get that role at Bingera, so he came to us two years ago and the rest is history,” he said.
“Last year he was player-coach but this year he only came on if needed and he showed his true colours in the final.”
Jake also said the club’s snowballing success was in no small way due to the vision and leadership of club president Mark Haster, whose 15-year-old twin daughters Lili and Zali were integral parts of their Wide Bay Ladies League juggernaut, including with Lili bagging a double in the grand final, and wife Jaz was a key player in their Bundaberg Ladies triumph.
Jake, whose mother Cherie is a former long-serving club secretary who remains on their committee and is also a Football Bundaberg Director, elder brother Adam is assistant coach for their under-16 and Men’s Black sides, and sister Tamara was a strong performer in their Bundaberg Ladies group, is also coach of their Wide Bay Ladies galaxy of stars.
He named dual Australian Commonwealth Games discus representative Taryn Gollshewsky as again their stand-out.
“Taryn is such a strong player – every time she gets the ball, the game changes – 35 goals in 12 games just shows off her qualities – Sarah Bretag (Scott’s younger sister) was also great – most in the team are young, with nine being high school students, of which five are 15-year-olds including Lili who was the grand final hero in my eyes,” Jake said.
Josh Adcock, 20, who started his career with North Bundaberg at the age of 10 and played for the Eagles through to the merger and with the United club since, described their triumph as “incredibly fulfilling”.
Josh, who has been the League’s Golden Boot runner-up for each of the past two seasons with 22 and 20 goals respectively, has in total scored 134 goals in 203 games for the clubs since 2013, and incredibly has never received a red card, copping just seven yellows.
“We’ve been through a lot as a club, from losing that final in 2015 to then being in the bottom half of the league for a few seasons to now winning the entire thing is phenomenal,” Josh said.
Brothers-Aston Villa were deserved winners in the Men’s division with a side that included eight players who also won the Division 2 men’s competition last year, and they also took out the coveted award for the Senior Club of the Year.
The one big difference to their 2019 team was that Jesse Sommer was their goalkeeper then, but he took out the League’s Golden Boot this season with 27 goals in 19 matches.
Bundaberg trio of Mitch Parsons, Matt Jackson and Caleb Szegfu, along with Tom Kidd (Hervey Bay) were chosen in the South Queensland Country Under-21 team after each playing key roles as Wide Bay took out the O’Dea Shield in Gympie last weekend.
Teams played two T20 games on Saturday and first-up, Wide Bay defeated Gold Coast by 37 runs with Caleb claiming 3-12.
They then downed South East Queensland by two runs on the Duckworth Lewis method in a rain-shortened game with Matt starring with 3-11.
Wide Bay then sealed the title with a six-wicket victory over Darling Downs South West Queensland in a 50-over match on Sunday, with Matt the destroyer with the ball with 4-26, while he completed a fine double with 37, captain Mitch finished unbeaten on 38 and another Bundaberg representative Brendan Grills also compiled 37.
Bundaberg’s other representative in the side was wicket-keeper Eddie Ryan.
Meanwhile the Wide Bay under-16 side recorded their first win in the Queensland Lord Taverners competition in two years with a hard-fought four-run victory over Toombul in Maryborough on Sunday.
The team includes two Bundaberg players, Ronan Dempsey, of YMCA, who scored 12 runs, and Jayden Santacaterina (Isis) who conceded just 13 runs in his three overs.
This Sunday, the Bundaberg open side will play South Burnett in its first match of the Goodchild Shield at Salter Oval. The team is: Michael Loader, Gavin Scott, Brendan Handley, Mitch Parsons, Matt Jackson, Arden Lankowski, Chris Duff, Nathan van Eekeren, Dean Krebs, Dylan Heycox, 1 to be added.
Also this weekend, the unbeaten Searle’s RV Centre Vikings will return to the field in the Aussie Bundy Big Bash at Salter Oval tonight but it will not be easy against reigning champions Takalvans Taipans, who will be hungry for victory after losing their first two games of the season.
In the Rum City Foods Intra Cup tomorrow, Brothers, who have lost their past three matches, will also be determined to break the drought, but they face a tall order against East Bundy Magpies, whom they lost both of their games to in the T20 competition and who are coming off a heart-breaking last ball loss to Waves in the T20 final.
Waves will travel to clash with Hervey Bay, who were obliterated by Norths last week but should be much stronger in their first home game this campaign.
Shalom College will host the third annual Rochford Futures Carnival at the Waves Sports Complex this weekend.
Just three teams will contest both the divisions with Shalom joined by league powerhouses St Brendan’s College Yeppoon in both, Ignatius Park College in the Open division, and Mackay State High in the Junior category.
All teams will play each other in their division twice tomorrow, with games starting at 11am and running through to 8pm, with the top two in each progressing to finals on Sunday, with the Junior play-off at 10am and Senior at 11am.
Bundaberg Bulls and Bears will be banking on a big crowd behind them when they play their last home matches of the ConocoPhillips Central Queensland Cup season against Rockhampton at Autobarn Arena tomorrow afternoon.
Rockhampton Rockets and Cyclones are both second on the ladder, while both the Bulls and Bears are without a win despite some very competitive performances in the past few weeks.
The women’s game is at 5pm, with the men to follow at 7pm.
West Barbarians can take a major step towards the Bundaberg Elders Insurance Spring Cup when they meet Fraser Coast in what is certain to be a sixth round battle royale at 7pm tomorrow but the Mariners will be hungry for revenge in their only home game of the season at Hervey Bay.
The Mariners had a penalty try awarded against them in a four-point loss to the Barbars when they last met three weeks ago.
Earlier at 5pm, Turtles Brothers must end a four-match losing streak to keep their hopes alive and also turn the tables on the Renegades after being ambushed by them at their last meeting.
Waves Tsunamis will have to overcome Terrors’ home-town advantage when they meet in a Hervey Bay A Grade Ladies top of the table showdown tomorrow.
At Brothers Sports Club, United Firesticks will be hoping to improve on their draw with Tsunamis last week and post their first win of the season but they are up against a Bargara Bullets team which racked up 20 runs against Terrors last week.
In A Grade Men’s, the high flying Waves Schooners will head to the Bay to do battle with Misfits in a top-two shoot-out, while at Brothers, fresh from their breakthrough win last weekend, Bargara Bombers will be aiming to climb off the bottom of the ladder with a win over third-placed United Heat.
Two intra-club duels will feature in Pool A as the Bundaberg Spring Cup reaches the half-way point in the season with round five at the Super Park tomorrow.
At 5.30pm, it will be Waves Crushers v Rollers, while Alloway’s Blue and Purple sides will face off at 7.30pm. Pools G and H games will start the program at 4.30pm.
Congratulations to Waves umpire Danielle Young for recently achieving her National B Umpires badge.
Spring Cup results last Saturday – Pool A: Brothers Hurricanes 35 d Alloway Blue 14, Alloway Red 42 d Alloway Purple 22, Waves Crushers 42 d Fusion Solomons 16, Natives Magpies 27 d Waves Rollers 22, Natives Eagles 16 d Brothers Thunder 8. Pool B: Natives Rosellas 14 drew Waves Sunrays 14, Natives Parrots 14 d Alloway Yellow 12. Pool C: Alloway Maroon 28 d Alloway Orange 8, Natives Kookaburras 39 d Alloway Aqua 5, Brothers Twisters 12 d Waves Angelfish 11. Pool D: Alloway Green 36 d Natives Peacocks 11, Fusion Ocrete 17 d Brothers Typhoons 15, Brothers Storm 22 d Waves Riptides 11. Pool E: Waves Sunfish 17 d Natives Firebirds 1, Natives Falcons 10 d Natives Galahs 9, Brothers Blizzards 7 d Brothers Heat 2. Pool F: Waves Seahorses 5 drew Waves Seashells 5, Fusion Dans Elite Auto 29 d Alloway Lavender 0, Brothers Earthquakes 7 d Natives Kingfishers 3.
Bundaberg trainers David Raines and Paul Burgess each claimed doubles at this week’s 10-race meeting at Thabeban Park.
David was successful with Magic Sue (Novice Non-Penalty) and Extra Coins (5th Grade Pathway Non-Penalty), while Paul got the cash with Naughty Streak (5th Grade) and Fly Mariposa (Best 8).
Three other District trainers were also successful on the program, Brian Terry with second starter Koolboo Dozza in the Maiden, Ron Brook with Not Scared in a 5th Grade, and Ron Hawkshaw which completed a hat-trick of wins in the Mixed 4th/5th Grade.
Ultra-promising three-year-old Isis Brumby, which is part-owned by Childers identity Leo Ricciardi, won his second straight win in Gladstone on Melbourne Cup Day.
The gelding, which is now trained in Rockhampton by Kevin Miller, made it three wins and one second from four starts so far, and there looks to be plenty of more wins in store for him.
Meanwhile, it is great to see apprentice Louise Dillon back in the saddle after suffering a double spinal fracture in a nasty race fall in Bundaberg on June 2.
Louise, who only made her race comeback on October 17, had a full book of five rides at the Kumbia meeting on Melbourne Cup Day and she rode her first winner since her return, on Craiglea Arion.
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