By IAN MONAGHAN
THEINAUGURAL North Coast Sevens soccer tournament at Lennox Head may have solved one of soccer's global problems.
So often the world game comes under fire for its lack of goals.
Thirty-one teams blazed away in equally hot conditions at the weekend, playing seven-a-side matches on half-sized pitches.
But the organisers decided to stick with fullsize goals and the end result was plenty of tight, high-scoring encounters.
Byron Bay took out $750 for downing Italo-Stars 3-2 in the premier division final, after Byron Bay beat Bangalow in a semi-final 3-2 and Stars accounted for Ballina 4-1 in the other semi.
The 'flying visitors' ? the RAAF Hunter Hornets ? took out the open men's final, defeating Alstonville 7-6 with a golden goal needed after they were locked 6-all after regulation time.
In another high-scoring encounter, Lennox Head Headliners, no doubt using their vast local knowledge, defeated northern neighbours the Byron Hog Squad 5-4.
A penalty shootout was needed to separate the women's division finalists after Woodburn Wolves and Lismore Workers finished 3-all at full-time and also after extra time.
Woodburn won the penalty shootout 6-5.
Soccer Far North Coast general manager Matt Kelso said the format, and particularly the high-scoring thrillers, were appreciated by players and spectators, along with the $3500 in prizemoney, thanks to major sponsors the Lennox Point Hotel and Gary Fox - The Good Guys.
He said the experiment with a season-opening Sevens tournament was so successful, the last weekend of February 2006 had already been earmarked for next year.
Meanwhile, perhaps the message from Lennox Head and Soccer FNC to FIFA headquarters should be: Reduce the size of the teams, reduce the size of the field . . . but leave the goals full-size.