SMS crowned double Champions

After five consecutive Grand Final defeats, nobody would have begrudged SMS their first Championship win. Each of those defeats had been by the smallest of margins, one solitary goal the difference in every Grand Final. However, with each defeat, the resilience, the determination and the desire to finally break their Grand Final hoodoo grew stronger. So, after a sucessful Spring 2015 season, four SMS teams managed to make it to four semi-finals, resulting in three Grand Finals, and three opportunities to finally win the ultimate prize. The first of those Grand Finals ended in their fifth Grand Final defeat, again by just one goal. It was a valiant effort by a depleted team missing two key first team players in Corey Borch and Toby Ford. It was now left to SMS 1 and SMS 2, both playing Grand Finals on the same night to reverse the trend and finally finish the job at hand.

SMS 2 were up first, against a talented, good natured and dangerous 'Single Dads' side, led capably by the skillful Jack Hayes. SMS 2, however, were in confident mood. Having convincingly won the league stage, losing only three times in 16 matches, they boasted the tightest defence. The addition of the Kuwaiti contingent of Majeed, Khlaed, Abdulrahman and Mohsen has galvanised the SMS squads with wonderful skill, and it proved to be the difference in the Final. Supported by Corey Borch's Man of the Match performance in goal, and with Bobby Mehta, in the twilight of his 5-a-side adventure, adopting a deeper defensive role alongside Bryce Harbridge, SMS 2 never looked troubed. Mohsen and Khaled were supreme, sillfully dismantling the opposition with mazy runs and clinical finishing. A 6-2 victory finally giving team SMS their very first Championship. It was well deserved and very long overdue and the celebrations were loud and suitably boisterous. But with another Grand Final to play, the focus soon shifted to SMS 1 and their season ending match against 'The Fatties'. With Bobby Mehta, Tim Haywood and Tim John the only remaining original SMS team members from the very first SMS appearance in the competition (an 8-3 defeat to the 'Old Poms' on 25th September 2012), it was an opportunity for the original SMS team, including Leo Cartwright, to finally win the big prize. The team had been bolstered, this season, by the addition of Noel Southall, whose phenomenal goalscoring ability had played a huge part in getting SMS 1 to another final. Boasting a superb eye for goal and tenacious atttitude, Southall had been instrumental throughout the campaign. After a dogged, scrappy affair, the full time siren sounded with the scores locked at 4-4. SMS had been here before, in fact it was a repeat of their very first Grand Final appearance on March 18th 2014 when, after a 3-3 draw against 'BCRs', the SMS team faced heartbreak courtesy of a Golden Goal winner scored by their opponents. Keen to avoid a repeat performance, the SMS began Golden Goal extra time in explosive fashion. As Mehta restarted the match with a pass from centre to Noel Southall, nobody could have predicted what happened next. Taking one touch to set himself up, Southall unleashed a thunderbolt from the halfway line. Time seemed to stand still for the next 10 seconds as the ball hurtled towards the top left corner of the goal. The keeper managed to get his hands to it, but the sheer force of the shot was too much for the flapping keeper, as the players watched in disbelief as the net bulged, indicating the end of the match, and the end of a fabulous season. It was a fitting end to the season for Southall, scoring the final dramatic, sensational goal in what had been a rollercoaster season. Only two weeks before, an on-field dispute had threatened to damage the teams hopes for the finals. Luckily this was avoided and the SMS team celebrated a hard fought, yet thoroughly deserved, victory. No matter what lies ahead, SMS can put the heartbreak of the past behind them. They are finally Champions, and it is a testament to their determination and sheer single mindedness. To become a champion you have to go longer, work harder and give more than anyone lese. SMS have finally done that.

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