By Tania Phillips
THE Tweed's winter sports calender came to an end at the weekend with grand finals contested around the valley. It proved a bittersweet weekend for the tiny sports-mad village of Burringbar with the town's soccer team claiming premiership success while the hockey team fell at the final hurdle. The sporting kings of the Burringbar/Mooball area, the Waratah Bobcats, were beaten 1-0 by Allstars in the Tweed Border Hockey grand final at Murwillumbah's Barrie Smith Hockey Field. (Report, page 10). "It wasn't pretty out there," Allstars captain Gareth Richardson said. "But we were able to pull together and win." It was the second consecutive year that the Bobcats have had their colours lowered by Allstars However, many of the supporters had little time to be disappointed as it was straight in the car and on to Kingscliff for the second grand final of the day featuring a Burringbar team: the Football Far North Coast (FFNC) First Division title. The soccer team is a relative newcomer to the Burringbar sporting scene, barely a decade old compared to the 75 years and 31 consecutive grand finals for Waratah Bobcats. But despite their relative youth, the Bandits were able to restore the town's morale with a hard-fought, heart-stopping win over Bangalow at Ned Byrne Oval. Reduced to 10 men late in the second half, the Bandits hung on to score a 2-1 victory. (Report, page 14) Club president and coach Grant Wilkinson said the victory capped off a magnificent year that included the minor premiership and promotion to top grade. Wilkinson and his club now have a busy task ahead of them, lobbying for much-needed change rooms to be built on the State Government-owned, trust-controlled ground at Burringbar ahead of their FFNC Premier League debut. They will also be chasing sponsorship and support so they can fund their Premier League campaign. The team is the first Tweed-based side to make the jump to the FFNC top grade.