Well if one nail biter against Ajax wasn’t enough, we’ve sure had our tickers put under the pump for the second week in a row. We travelled to Donald Mac Reserve in Beaumaris, on another beautiful sunny morning, for our last grading game against the Sharks. Another rivalry game as many of the boys and parents know each other quite well. The friendly heckling and banter between the two clubs is both healthy and amusing. Our captain for the day was Ollie S and the boys appeared to be quite keen to get in the game underway.
The first quarter turned out to be our best for the game. We were up and about. Charlton was looking dangerous. Ben H was backing himself through traffic and creating opportunities through great running. Ryan P was good and was dealing with some extra attention whilst holding up the play and creating some important stoppages. Freddie S was tasked with looking after some dangerous forwards. Harry B was in and under and bobbing up everywhere. Sometimes we don’t see him until he bounds out of a pack. Ben W got us on the board with a great goal. This was followed by another great goal to Keegan, who was certainly using his frame to advantage.
The second term saw us looking a bit flat. I don’t under-estimate that last week’s game against Ajax certainly took a lot out of the boys. It was their first really tough and physical match for the year, and I think they’ll be able to handle it better as the season goes on. Mikey was great. His composure was impressive as he was holding up the backline. We needed to be tight through the middle and back as they were getting loose players out. Jake S was showing great endeavour in his tackling and covering off the loose players holding them up. Ollie S and Max working together in tight spaces and clearing the ball was super to see. It shows the boys are also becoming smarter and cleaner with their possessions.
The third term was a major tussle. This ground produces low scoring for some reason. Matt B and Sandro were digging in for the fight. It certainly wasn’t going to be an easy second half. Oscar was running hard and nearly collected a few in one burst through the pack. Harry BG and James H were unlucky a few times with that oval shape ball just bouncing away from them. We’d dominated on the scoreboard as we got close to the final change, however a couple of posters had seen us not having a big enough break to get comfy. The Sharks were still running strong. It would be a big fight to bold onto this one.
We were out on our legs. Huddy has tirelessly got to contests brilliantly all day and was determined to Keep going hard until the end – fight. Ollie S was throwing himself at opposition bodies, willing himself to give off to teammates – fight. Giddy and Harry W were willing their legs go be strong enough to tackle, spread and kick forward- fight. Zac M was stopping attackers in their tracks causing fumbles – fight. The result of fighting and repeated effort in the last few minutes saw us get over the line by a point.
Division 1 has now been finalised and our opposition will all be competitive, and I see a few nemeses from previous seasons await. Our boys will be up to the task every week as we continue to learn and be the best we can be. The draw should be up in a day or two.
Go Hampton Rovers – best mates.