Byron boys on a roll in Bill Turner Cup
BYRON Bay will play Newcastle High in Coffs Harbour tomorrow with a win securing a spot in the finals series of the 40th Bill Turner Cup.
The Bill Turner Cup is a national high school competition for boys 15-years-and-under in a knock-out format that started in April with 450 teams from Cairns to Melbourne, all regions of NSW and the ACT.
Byron Bay has now progressed to the national quarter-finals, the furthest the school has ventured in a tournament regarded as one of the largest of its kind in the world.
"Our main focus now is making sure all the boys are ready," Byron Bay coach Harley Schmidt said.
"If we play like we did, play as a team, the result will look after itself."
On Tuesday Byron Bay had to overcome an early goal by Coffs Harbour's St John Paul College captain Nathan Zawadzki in the opening minute at Byron's Gallaway Oval.
Two goals in close succession from Byron's Zahi Addis had the locals back in command midway through the first half at 2-1.
St John Paul's players were not done, however, and threw everything, including their bodies, at Byron, with Zawadzki equalising in the 47th minute.
With the scores locked at 2-all at the end of both regulation (60 minutes) and extra-time (20 minutes), the match went to a penalty shoot-out which Byron Bay won 4-2.
Goalkeeper Aaron Spry, the hero for Byron, put in a "Mark Schwarzer" effort to save consecutive penalties and deny St John Paul a victory.
First, the college's second attempt, by Tyler Kooyman, was swatted to Spry's left and the second, from Zawadzki, was pushed away to his right.
Peter Wise, Ryan Milgate, Addis and Luca Twomey all slotted penalties past St John Paul's goalkeeper Lex Weily.
"It feels pretty good to be in the top eight (schools)," Byron Bay captain Alby Kay said.
"The boys did a good job and hopefully we can improve (against Newcastle). It will be a good game."
The top four schools from the Cup's 450 boys and Trophy's 400 girls will contest the national finals at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on September 4-5.