The Weston Bears have won the Heritage Cup final in a penalty shootout against Adamstown Rosebud after scores were locked at 0-all at fulltime.
Bears recruit Josh Maguire won the inaugural Col ‘Bunny’ Curran player of the final to cap off an unbeaten tournament by the past two year’s Northern Premier League wooden spooners.
The wisdom of recruiting Maguire, former Bears stalwart Nathan Morris and Dutch international and Newcastle Jets captain Kew Jaliens is already showing dividends with their experience complementing a talented young roster.
The Bears’ success has come at a cost with defender Brock Oakley injuring his knee in the Lakes United game and recruit Regan Lundy, signed from the Jets youth team, also sidelined.
Weston won all four pool games including a 2-0 and 1-0 wins against NPL opponents Edgeworth and Lake Macquarie City.
They also had a 2-1 win against New Lambton and defeated Dudley-Redhead 3-2 in the final pool game on Sunday before the final against another NPL rival in Adamstown.
Cessnock City Hornets also showed very encouraging signs finishing second in Pool B beating Maryland Fletcher 2-0 on Sunday after a 1-0 win against Wallsend FC on Saturday. Their only loss was against Adamstown going down 2-0.
The Hornets have finished bottom of the ladder in the past two Northern League One campaigns and were second last in 2015.
Weston showed plenty of grit and touches of class to make the final. Their spot was sealed with a dramatic 1-0 win against Lake Macquarie City, in which Lakes missed two penalties.
Bears keeper Kane Runge dived the wrong way in the Lakes’ first attempt from the penalty spot. However, the ball was steered past the net.
Just minutes after, Bears midfielder Chris Hurley made Lakes pay with a stunning strike from 20 metres out to beat the keeper.
Runge was called on again to defend his net and Lakes were denied again from the penalty spot with the teenage keeper diving to his right and holding the ball out.
The form of new striker Tega Marcus will give Bears fans plenty to cheer about. Underdone after a break overseas to get married, he scored two goals and worked hard as a bigger- bodied target up forward .
Weston 2 (Nathan Morris, Tega Marcus) def. Edgeworth Eagles 0
Weston 2 (Jackson Burston, Tega Marcus) def. New Lambton 1 (Lachlan Haynes)
Weston 1 (Chris Hurley) def. Lake Macquarie City 0
Weston 3 (Zac Jokinen, Sam Ford, Jamie Subat) def. Dudley-Redhead United 2 (Todd McSorley, Mark Worral)