The 2017 Business Games got off to a bone-shaking start on Saturday September 30th, as seven teams took to the courts at Shed 1 to contest the Bubble Soccer.
In Pool A, 2016 defending champions AJ Park were up against Kiwibank and Bubble Soccer newcomers Jetts Fitness and APX Travel. AJ Park proved too strong for all opponents in their pool matches. By employing the same tactics that won them the title last year, AJ Park physically dominated each match. Jetts Fitness looked to be the second strongest team in the pool – after being down 4-0 to AJ Park and fighting back to finish at 5-3, Jetts were steadily improving and coming to grips with their game strategy. They finished their pool matches with a flourish by overwhelming APX Travel 10-0, thereby finishing second in Pool A and taking plenty of momentum into the playoffs.
Pool B was only contested by three teams due to an unfortunate late withdrawal. Te Tumu Paeroa, although lacking brawn and ‘big players’, made up for lack of size with speed and skill. They beat Wellington Airport by an impressive 7 goals to 1, before grinding out a hard-earned 3-2 victory over Vector AMS. In the battle for 2nd place in the pool, Wellington Airport surprised Vector AMS to win 4-2.
In the quarter finals, Pool B winners Te Tumu Paeroa were expected to breeze past their opponents, APX Travel, who had finished fourth and winless in their pool. However, APX played out of their skins to take a 2-1 upset win and progress to the semis. AJ Park and Jetts also progressed to the semis as expected.
In the first semi, Jetts overpowered a brave APX Travel side 4-1, while AJ Park made hard work of beating Wellington Airport, eking out a closer than expected 1-0 victory.
The final battle between the experienced AJ Park and newcomers Jetts was a true battle of the titans. Both sides had plenty of speed and muscle and were capable of accurate shooting from anywhere on the court. Jetts, who by now had perfected their aggressive, attacking game plan, were able to make plenty of inroads through AJ Park’s usually rock-solid defense and score 3 goals before half time. AJ Park pegged one goal back to make it 3-1.
Plenty of big hits throughout the match took a toll on both teams, as goals became harder to come by in the second half. A brilliant long range effort from AJ Park made the score 3-2 with a minute to go, but they were unable to grab an equaliser.
Congratulations to Jetts Fitness on becoming our Business Games Bubble Soccer champions!