The flamboyant James Walker cut loose with five tries as Hospital Pass completed a dominant campaign, outgunning Nut Jobs 8-2 in the Brothers Social Touch 2022 Season 1 Open Men’s grand final.
Lachlan Sutton drew first blood for Hospital Pass, but from there, it was the James Walker show, dazzling with his speed, precision passing, and unrelenting defence.
However nineteen-year-old Dual Australian Surf Life Saving Beach Sprint Champion Ky Woods, the youngest player in the game, recorded the most tries on the night.
He used his electrifying speed to full effect, touching down six times as Marshalls overpowered Furniture Court 7-3 in Mixed B2.
James was backing up after refereeing the Over-35’s Division 2 decider, which was won by a six-man McHugh Steel against Rum Ruckers 4-1, with four individual scorers Brendan Gray, Anthony Aplin, Corey Dennien and Keith Pitt.
McHugh Steel had been beaten by LLE Tats Rats in the Season 1 Over-35’s Division 1 grand final 12 months earlier, before the Season 2 grand finals were ultimately abandoned in December after they were washed out twice.
Cheshire Machinery, formerly McDonald Murphy Machinery, stepped up from their Over-35 Division 2 triumph of last year, to be crowned Over-35 Division 1 champions.
They accounted for LLE 4-1 with one of their many long-serving players, Darrin Saunders, notching a double.
Bundy Outdoors, with a bare six players, dug deep to somehow hold on for a gutsy 2-1 victory over multiple premiership winners McColms, who had a full team of seven, plus three reserves, in the Mixed A1 showpiece.
Shannon Sundblom scored both tries for Bundy Outdoors, after also posting their only try in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of McColms a year earlier.
Misfits clinched a 3-2 extra-time victory over RSup in Mixed A2, also going one better after being edged out by Marineland 4-3 in Mixed A3 in 2021.
Active Skip Bins also claimed the honours in extra time in Mixed B1 against Touchy Subject after scores had been locked together at 3-all at full-time.
Matt Churchill was the only multiple-scorer in the game, grabbing all of Touchy Subject’s three tries.
Extra-time was also needed in the Mixed B3 play-off before The Cats clawed their way to the crown against Old ‘n’ New, who were the 2021 Mixed B1 victors.
Stalwart referee Mick Hochen had the honour of controlling both the Open Men’s and Mixed A2 grand finals.
Brett Renz, who blew the whistle for the Mixed A1 and Mixed B2 deciders, took out the Referee of the Year award.
Social touch open scores:
Open Men: Hospital Pass 8 (James Walker 5, Connor Henderson, Dan Justice, Lachlan Sutton) d Nut Jobs 2 Derick Celliers, Paul Lovett).
Mixed A1: Bundy Outdoors 2 (Shannon Sundblom 2) d McColms 1 (Lindsey Medley).
Mixed A2: Misfits 3 (Cindy Gustilo, Scott Gaze, Justin Gaze) d RSup 2 (Blake Aplitt 2).
Mixed B1: Active Skip Bins 3 (Dean Catorall, Jason Twymann, Hayley Lerch) d Touchy Subject 3 (Matt Churchill 3) in extra-time.
Mixed B2: Marshalls 7 (Ky Woods 6, Andrew McCracken) d Furniture Court 3 (Nathan Theuerkauf, Jodie Onoprienko, Chris Onoprienko).
Mixed B3: The Cats 2 (Ben Tewes, Tamara Sward) d Old n New 2 (Mark Fraser, Ka Smith) in extra-time.
Over 35 1: Cheshire Machinery 4 (Darrin Saunders 2, Brian McMah, Troy Cory) d LLE 1 (Ashley Simpson).
Over 35 2: McHugh Steel 4 (Brendan Gray, Anthony Aplin, Corey Dennien, Keith Pitt) d Rum Ruckers 1 (Greg Messenger).
Other stories: Champions of Bundaberg Touch competition