by Jack Lawrie
SOCCER: Monto held its first home carnival in the Biloela and District competition at the weekend.
At the Combined Sports field, under-16 and U13 teams from Monto, Banana Valley and Callide fought surprisingly close matches on the main field, while the juniors played friendly casual games on the side.
The first game of the morning, Monto U16s v Callide Pumas proved an intense preview of things to come, with both sides battling for control and defences pushed to the brink.
In the end, the score went 2-1 to the Pumas, but Monto made them fight for it at every step.
Handling was key, with both coaches urging their players to keep control throughout the match.
Monto got its own back in the next game, a similarly close under 13s match against the Callide Wildcats, which they won 2-1.
U13 coach Greg Barnett said the team had been putting in a solid effort.
"They played well, they've stepped up to the bigger field which they're not used to yet, but they're playing good as a team,” Mr Barnett said.
"Training keeps getting rained out, but it's a great start to the season; good numbers, four subs so plenty of rest.”
Junior players' games are kept casual but people watching the carnival said the U11 team would be almost at the level to move up.
Valley Club President Aileen Seagrott said it was good to see such tight competition among the players.
"It's all pretty even, even right through to the little ones, there was no big upsets,” Mrs Seagrott said.
"I think the whole four clubs on the go are all pretty even this year.”