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!)