The 2014 Australian Floorball Open, held in Perth from July 9 to 12, once again proved the strength of the Pakenham Squishees Floorball Club, coming runners up in the Junior and Womens' divisions, and winning the Mens' division for the third year running.
The Juniors saw some mixed results, with the Squishees finishing 5th on the ladder, but fighting hard to make the grand final anyway, against the top team. Unfortunately the Redbacks A side, which had dominated the rounds, was also strong enough to resist the Squishees' comeback. Still, a great result.
In the Womens' division, the Squishees performed brilliantly to finish top of the table in the rounds. Whilst the second-placed Meerkats overcame them in the final, it was the first appearance of the Squishees in the Womens' Final at any AFO, so a big congratulations to all the girls.
In the Mens' division, Victoria had four teams competing - a combined Sale/Vikings team, and not one, not two, but three Squishees teams. The Squishees were divided into an Under 19 team, the Squishees Mens 2's, and of course the champions from the last two years, the Pakenham Squishees.
The Under 19s, many of whom progressed from the victorious Squishees Juniors from last year, played very skillfully and fought very hard on debut at AFO. The move from juniors to playing against seasoned adults was a large one though, and they'll no doubt be back next year to snare their first win.
The Squishees 2's also played very well - even taking the early lead against the Squishees 1's in a very bold move. They suffered however from being in a very strong pool that produced both the finalists, and just failed to get a win, conceding 2.6 goals per game more than they scored.
The Sale Vikings, in the weaker Pool B, conceded 1.8 goals more than they scored, but managed to win two games including a narrow win over the Dingoes with forty seconds to play. Finishing fourth saw them meet the Squishees 1's in the quarter finals - in which an 11-0 lesson was meted out.
The Squishees 1's were the jewels of Australian floorball once again this year - though they experienced their first non-victory in three years of AFO, drawing 4-4 with the Czech/Finnish/Swedish dream team called the Gypsies in their round game. In the final however, the Squishees lifted further, and scored consistently throughout the match to beat the Gypsies 9-4. The Gypsies tried hard to come back later in the game, but the Squishees never looked like losing.
Congratulations to all teams and players - and especially to Pakenham for their huge presence and organizational effort. And once again - WELL DONE SQUISHEES for a third straight AFO Victory (an no sign of letting up!)
Congratulations to the Pakenham Floorball Club, for their outstanding efforts resulting in back-to-back titles in both the Men's and Junior Divisions!
Whilst 2012 saw the Pakenham Men's 1sts winning every game by close to ten goals, 2013 was generally a much tighter affair. Stunned by the annihilations of last year, the competition stepped up a notch in Wollongong - but once again PFC 1sts went through the tournament winning every game, culminating in a hard-fought final with only three goals - two of them belonging to PFC. That second goal made history, making PFC the first ever back-to-back winners of mens AFO. Well done everyone! As the only club to enter two mens teams, the PFC 2nds also fought hard, and were unlucky not to win more games. Likewise Sale men fought hard all tournament, including leading Glebe until the dying minutes, and were unlucky not to notch up more wins.
Both Sale and Pakenham battled valiantly in the Women's Division, though unfortunately both missed out on the trohpy. In the Junior division, Pakenham provided two of the six teams, and played extremely well to also win back-to-back championships. The Sale Juniors also played a very good tournament.
Can Pakenham do it again next year in Perth? The smart money says yes...
Also, congratulations and thanks to VFA Committee Member Gavin Staindl, who was honoured with the Victorian State Contribution Award for his huge contribution to Victorian Floorball over the last 15 years.
To those who've been around Australian floorball a while, Sunday, April 15, 2012 was a historic day. Coining the day "four fifteen"
a la "nine eleven" might be a touch disrespectful, yet the tears shed today by some victorious players were no less real for being
born of joy.
Pakenham was one of the earliest floorball venues in Victoria, as a bunch of children under 10 were introduced to the game over
fifteen years ago. Today those boys came of age.
Many of us have watched over the last five years as the Pakenham Squishees AFO team has looked so promising, but lacked
the experience to deliver the goods. Today that changed, as they comfortably outclassed the well-oiled Northern Beaches machine
to take out their first AFO title, winning 10 goals to 4.
The Squishees were hungry - but that they've always been. Today, however, they showcased the results of a very dedicated
training schedule, and an ever-increasing maturity and court presence aided by their one (yes, just one) overseas-raised anchorman.
For those of us who've witnessed their dedication and perseverance over the years, today was a glorious day indeed. That it
should happen during the first year of "PFC Incorporated", at perhaps the best run AFO yet, at their home venue, made the
fairy-tale all the more surreal.
Congratulations to everyone involved both on and off the court - and best of luck to whoever hopes to wrestle the trophy away
from the boys next year in Brisbane. We've a feeling you'll be needing it - not least because the Pakenham Squishees also won
the Junior title earlier in the day.