Rocky scores huge honour at Junior State Cup
TOUCH: President Gary Benbow is still on a high after Rockhampton Touch won the coveted Champion Affiliate Cup at the 2018 Junior State Cup.
Rockhampton fielded 20 teams, of which 10 made quarter-finals, nine made semi-finals and six made grand-finals.
The under-16 and under-18 boys went on to win their age groups in impressive fashion, with Flynn Kelso and Baillie List named player of the final in their respective age groups.
The cup win was even more special given that a record 233 teams, the biggest in the tournament's 23-year history, contested the three-day event in Hervey Bay.
Benbow, who also coached the under-16 boys to their fifth straight title, was understandably thrilled with the association's success.
"This is a massive coup for Rocky Touch,” he said.
"To win the Champion Affiliate Cup is the ultimate, without a doubt.
"We shared it last year with the Gold Coast but our goal has always been to win it outright.
"To be the best affiliate in Queensland is a dream come true and a great reward for the hard work of everyone involved from players and coaches to managers and parents.”
Rockhampton's reputation as a touch powerhouse was further enhanced by the weekend's performances.
The under-12 boys, under-14 boys and girls and the under-16 girls all made it to the grand final, only to be beaten in hard-fought contests.
The under-16 boys claimed victory with an 8-6 win over Coomera in their decider, while the under-18 boys were too good for the Gold Coast, running out 8-3 winners.
Benbow said the under-18s were clinical in every game.
"They were the best team by far over the whole tournament,” he said.
"They were fantastic in the final, and were up five-nil at half-time. They set the standard high and the Gold Coast couldn't go with them.
"Overall, it was a very dominant display.”
Benbow could not have been prouder of his 16 boys.
They finished on top of their pool after the round games but had to dig deep to score a 6-5 win in drop-offs over Toowoomba in their semi-final.
That set up a grand final showdown with Coomera and Rockhampton was determined to maintain its dominance.
"We came out all guns blazing and were leading 5-2 at half-time,” Benbow said.
"We knew we just had to keep playing our game and keep the intensity going.
"We scored straight after half-time which I think deflated them (Coomera) a little bit and we went on to win 7-6.”
Benbow has been coaching Rockhampton teams at the Junior Cup for 15 years but said 2018 was going to take some beating.
"For the boys to win their fifth title in a row was amazing but to win the affiliate, that's definitely the icing on the cake.
"It's an unbelievable feeling.
"It's going to take me a while to come down from this one.”
GRAND FINAL RESULTS
- Under-12 boys: Gold Coast d Rockhampton 4-3
- Under-14 girls: BMTA d Rockhampton 4-3
- Under-14 boys: Gold Coast d Rockhampton 8-6
- Under-16 girls: Redlands d Rockhampton 4-3
- Under-16 boys: Rockhampton d Coomera 7-6 (player of the final Flynn Kelso)
- Under-18 boys: Rockhampton d Gold Coast 8-3 (player of the final Baillie List)