Round 11 saw us take on Ajax at home. Thomas and Ollie Mc were our captains for the day. Both gave their all and led from the front.
We were hoping to maintain the momentum from the last quarter of our last game into this game, and we did exactly that, kicking the first goal of the match early in the first quarter. James C won a holding the ball decision approximately 35 metres out from goal and went back and calmly slotted it through. James was a welcome addition back after injuring himself in the warm up last week.
We ran pretty hard in the first part of the quarter with Ollie Mc, Jack Mc and Peter combining with James C out of the middle and Nate and Mitch pushing hard out on the wings. Jack W was off to a great start, contesting everything that came his way up forward and shovelling handballs out of the pack. James P was also doing his best to provide an avenue to goal.
Matt C was having a good first quarter down back and was getting support from Thomas and Max – another welcomed addition back into the side after 5 weeks abroad. Will, Robbie, Jack H and Matty G were working hard on the final line of defence.
After being on top early in the quarter, some of our boys started to hit the wall a little. I think they were feeling the slightly warmer conditions and our run and accountability started to drop. Ajax ran harder and deeper and made us pay by scoring a goal and stealing the momentum.
Ajax built some belief and took it into the second quarter. They were running and attacking hard. We struggled to move the ball past the centre. Stef had moved down back and was supporting Matty C and Geordie. Will met the wave he was facing from full back and Bailey S played one of his better quarters for the year.
The pressure on the back line was enormous though and our mids had dropped off, creating opportunities for Ajax to score. They piled on three goals to none during the second quarter, so we had some work to do to catch up in the last half.
Our third quarter was the best for the day. The boys started to run, link up and gain some confidence. Ever reliable Jake moved to full back, which allowed Will to move into the ruck where he provided a great contest and enormous run. Will was a major driver in getting us back into the game. Matty G played out on a wing and followed Will’s example by contesting everything that came near him. Bailey M started picking up possessions.
Our running brigade – of Peter, Ollie and Max worked really hard. Jack Mc went up forward and Nate popped up as a dangerous forward. James B was also working hard across half forward and started getting his hands to the ball. Will created the first opportunity to goal when he chased down an opponent on the forward flank, kicked the ball deep to the hot spot where it was collected by Nate who snapped over his left shoulder to reduce the deficit. Will also got us going on our next goal by taking the ball from the wing, touching the ball on the ground with one hand as a bounce, before pumping a long ball into the forward line. Bailey M contested the ball, gave a lovely tap on to Nate who snapped his second for the quarter.
We turned into three quarter time only one goal down and with rising confidence levels. It was anyone’s game at this point.
The last quarter was a hard fought affair. Our boys never gave in. Ajax lifted and did plenty of attacking. Our defence stood up as best they could. The luck turned a little on us with a few things going Ajax’s way in the last and resulting in goals.
Bailey S finished off a very good game, Ollie F never gave up, both the Matthews gave their all and Bailey M also did his best to keep us in the game. Niko put some great body work on in the last and tried his best to create a path to goal. A special mention to Niko who played his second game of the day, filling in for the under 13’s at Boss James before our game.
Will continued his fine game in the last, as did Ollie Mc.
We’ve managed to maintain our position in the top 4…just. We look forward to next week. Our endeavour and effort this week was much improved on last game and perhaps we are just starting the build again – similar to before the school holidays.
It is important all the boys make an effort to get to training this week. We have a bit to work on and there is plenty of upside left in our game. Another reminder to everyone that we are not training at Castlefield at the moment due to the state of the ground. Watch TeamStuff but I believe training will continue to be at William Street Reserve – Corner of William and Halifax Streets, Brighton.
Speaking of TeamStuff, please update this as early as you possibly can. It makes the planning around game day much easier when we have a clear understanding of everyone’s availability.
Let’s keep enjoying our footy and the company of our mates.
Hampton Rovers – Best Mates!
BTW – Boys make sure you touch your football 100 times each day!!