THE Armidale School enjoyed collective and individual success at the North Coast Independent Schools Sporting Association’s annual football championships.
About 250 players from six independent schools from Tweed Heads to Coffs Harbour arrived at the school on Tuesday to participate in the round robin competition in junior girls, junior boys, and senior girls’ and boys’ divisions.
The championships doubled as trials for the combined NCIS teams to play in the NSW Combined Independent Schools (CIS) trials.
The hosts were undefeated in the senior boys beating Emmanuel Anglican College Ballina 2-1, Lindisfarne Anglican School Tweed Heads 3-2 and Bishop Druitt College Coffs Harbour 1-nil.
“It was a great day with a terrific atmosphere. For us, it really helped us gel as a team at the start of the season, and I’m sure this was the same for the other teams as well,” TAS Football captain Tom Gordon said.
Gordon was one of six TAS boys named in the 15-man NCIS squad. Saxon Hardingham, Rory Spiers, Cameron Ranck, Dylan Ruba (all from Armidale) and Sam Zuill, who hails from Grafton also caught selectors’ eyes.
The CIS trials will be held in Sydney on May 28.
“The boys now have a clear pathway through NCIS to CIS and onto Australian Schoolboys, should they be good enough, with the opportunity to also play some very good Sydney schools,” NCIS selector and TAS First XI coach Richard Newton said.
The TAS junior side were runners up with a win, two draws and a loss. That was to eventual champions Bishop Druitt.
Bishop Druitt also snared the senior girls’ while Emmanuel Anglican College took out the junior girls division ahead of Lindisfarne.
Carnival convenor TAS director of co-curricular Jason Lincoln said TAS was honoured to host an NCIS carnival for the first time, and is likely to now host the football championships each year.
“The standard of play was extremely high, and commented upon by selectors, coaches and parents,” he said.
TAS will this year have three senior teams playing in senior Armidale District Football Association (ADFA) competition, and field junior teams in the ADFA from under 5s to 16s.
Both the TAS First XI and the 14’s will also take part in a pre-season development tour to Sydney from April 5-7, with the Firsts playing Barker College and Cranbrook School First XI’s, while the 14s will play The Scots College.
The boys will also have dinner with former Socceroo captain Paul Wade who will run a training session on Sunday morning before the boys head home.