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Checks find golden-goal glory

Old Canberrans won their second extra-time thriller in as many weeks to capture the club's first ever women's first grade Capital League premiership yesterday.

With scores tied at 1-1 at the end of regular time, the game went to golden goal extra-time, during which Checks goalkeeper Jackie Hayes made a match-winning save before Abbey Cambridge scored her second goal from a short corner to win it.

''I'm a bit lost for words at the moment,'' Checks captain Kate Gilmore said. ''It's obviously the first premiership for the club and I think that's what's so special about it. All the girls are very aware of that and it's really a big privilege to be able to be part of this team.''

But the result could have easily gone the other way, with ANU unlucky to only score one goal in the first half against a stagnant Checks side - a goal from Louisa Roberts at the end of a great string of play the only opportunity converted.

''I was concerned at half-time, we didn't have the energy, the composure, and we certainly struggled in that first half from where we've been,'' Checks coach Ray Dorsett said. ''The second half they really pulled the finger out.''

ANU had one opportunity 10 minutes into the second half, when Hayes saved a goal in the face of two oncoming attackers.

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Other than that, it was all Checks, with ANU coach Chris Hotchkis admitting ''they really dominated the whole second half'', and paying tribute to his team's defence for preventing more goals.

The Checks missed three short-corner opportunities before Gilmore found the back of the net on the fourth, only to have the shot deemed too high after a long discussion between the umpires.

Upping their intensity, Old Canberrans finally scored the equaliser, Abbey Cambridge deflecting in a shot from Steph Andrews off a short corner with 10 minutes left to play.

With neither team able to break the deadlock, the game advanced to extra time when it was Old Canberrans that threatened first, a short corner shot saved by goalkeeper of the year Peta Sutherland.

A long pass found ANU's Tonina Staunton alone in the forward line with only 18-year-old keeper Hayes to beat, and the game looked over.

Hotchkis said ''I thought we had it then, I thought we were going to win,'' a sentiment shared by Dorsett on the other bench, who described the moment as ''heart wrenching''.

But with two defenders closing in, Hayes ran out to challenge, knocking Staunton's shot inches wide of goal to save the day.

Checks rebounded to earn a short corner at the other end, with Abby Cambridge in the right spot to deflect the shot over the top of an outstretched Sutherland for the winner.

The goal denied ANU coach Chris Hotchkis his second first grade premiership of the weekend, having played in Central's win on Saturday, but ANU captain Jess Madden applauded her side's award-winning coach after the game.

''Coach of the year says it all and we really can't thank you enough for everything you've done this season - sorry we couldn't get there right at the end,'' Madden said.

Old Canberrans' Catriona Bailey-Price was player of the final.