Students step up
CASINO Christian School may be small in number but it has stood up to be counted in the first round of the Bill Turner Cup and Trophy football knockout competitions.
Several Year 6 pupils stood out last week in the school's wins over Summerland Christian College of Lismore in the tournament skewed at Year 9 pupils.
The Cup, for boys, and the Trophy, for girls, is run annually by Northern NSW Schools Football for 15-years-and-under high school students in the eastern states.
With just under 60 junior high students to select two squads from Casino Christian School, sports teacher Dave McPherson had to call on four of the Year 6 students to make up his squads.
Amanda Huxley, at 11 years, was one of the stars of Casino's shining lights netting twice in the 6-1 rout of their Lismore opponents.
The girls had trailed 1-0 before their goalfest advanced them to the next round where Casino Christian will host Evans River.
"It was fantastic, really good," Amanda said of her two goals.
"I really enjoy playing ... I had played (club) for two years but then I stopped.
"I've played for the past two years for the school."
The 11-year-old enjoys ballet with the agility and core strength transferable to her football where she is not over-awed by girls four years her senior.
"It felt good, it felt like young can still score goals against older," Amanda said of playing the older girls.
"I want to play soccer but not at championship level ... just for fun."
Dylan Ryan was the smallest on field in the Casino Christian team but he stood tall as a central defender in his team that trailed 3-0 before recovering to win 4-3 in their first-round match against Summerland Christian College.
"I've played soccer for six years but I wanted a change," the 12-year-old explained.
"So now I'm playing (club) rugby league ... when I played soccer I played midfield but for this game I played centre back.
"We defended the whole game ... it was really hard in that (last five minutes) because they just wanted to score goals so much because we were beating them."
The Lismore side threw everything it had at the Casino boys in the last five minutes in trying to send the match to extra-time.
"All the defenders, including my brother (Jake), just stuck to our game and defended it," Dylan said.
The boys will play Casino High in the second round at the Casino Christian School ground, with the boys' and girls' games to be played next term.
"The girls played well all game, the 50-50 balls they worked hard and didn't back off," McPherson said.
"I was on my feet for the whole of the boys' game.
"We have to draw on the primary (students), they play kids twice their size and go well, which is fantastic."