Old Brighton Grammarians swept Old Haileybury aside yesterday, with a blistering second quarter in which Dan Anthony and Tom Fisher kicked eight of the team’s ten goal blitz that again, had the match wrapped up at the main break. But it stuck in the craw later in the day, to learn that the Ashers had held on to their final spot at Brindisi Street. Both Anthony and Fisher missed the Round 16 match against Monash that we lost by eight points a fortnight ago. Fisher was injured, but nothing was wrong with Dan. The video camera injustice has much to answer for. Throw in the controversial finish to the first clash at Monash and it leaves Tonner supporters feeling aggrieved. At least the Minstrel bagged eight and squared the ledger with David Fayman at the top of the Premier B sharp shooters.
The Tonners finished their season with another impressive win that showcased the potential we have amongst our youngsters. They have done a wonderful job to learn quickly and carry the Club forward in the back half of the season. Hamish Graham stood tall again in the centre yesterday, and when we took our first turn on the breeze, there was no stopping the Minstrel who put on a clinic, booting five goals in all sorts of circumstances. He began with a superb left-foot snap, led to a classic Harry Hill pass, turned on a five-cent piece to outwit a grasping defender, out-manoeuvred his man to mark a high ball, then simply stood at the fall of a swirling ball while a hapless opponent flew and missed it in the wind. Ironically, Dan’s easiest chance slipped left of the post. It bamboozled the umpire who called it a goal – why wouldn’t it be? – then had to cancel it while Dan stood at the end of the square, arms up to defend the kick-in. His work was interrupted only by the brilliant Fisher, who kicked his own hat-trick in five minutes.
The Magentas improved to boot six in the third but Dan and Tom added one each and the Tonners led by 28 points when we next had the wind at our backs. This produced another extraordinary burst in which the Minstrel and the Pocket Rocket turned on a dual act, Dan kicking his seventh and eighth, Michael dashing around the railway flank to boot three of his own, as each of them assisted the other. Harry Hill fed them both, and then ran onto a handpass for his second before Jarrod Sargent finished his very productive game with a lovely conversion from forty.
Throughout the match, The Tonners were well served by Tom Mariani’s hard work and further excellent performances from defenders Dylan Verney, Ben Austen and Tom Larkworthy. Tom Larkworthy’s ability to send a long low pass across the wind and pick out Harry Hill sprinting through three opponents was extraordinary. Harry didn’t break stride and finished with a brilliant drive at the erections. It was perhaps the most exquisite moment of the season.
There were moments when this season enveloped us with a stressful concern that relegation loomed. It was hard to imagine after eight losses in the first ten rounds, that we could win seven of the last eight and finish with such encouraging momentum. After the match, the Beach was filled with optimism for next season.
Some players won’t know what to do with themselves next week. They are playing so confidently that they may well have caused concern for opponents had we made the finals. However, when preparations for 2017 begin in a few months, supporters will be hoping that player numbers swell to ride the wave that has been building at South Road since Harry and Luke took the field, Andy and Michael came home, and the youngsters learned to work hard with the handful of experienced players who survived the mass exit. Well done to all of you! It will be great viewing from the balcony next year!
OLD BRIGHTON GRAMMARIANS: 3.1 13.5 15.6 22.9.141
OLD HAILEYBURY: 3.2 4.3 10.8 14.8.92
Goals: Anthony 8, Fisher 4, Karayannis 4, Bolger 2, Hill 2, A. Dewar, Sargent.
Best: Anthony, Hill, Fisher, Verney, Graham, Austen, Mariani.
ROSCOES FINISH ON A HIGH
After enduring a very difficult season, the Roscoes were able to finish the year with a resounding 73 point win over the Magentas. Boosted by the inclusion of youngsters Jandre Olivier, Conar Macleod, and Nick Collin, the Roscoes played with skill and application and they were able to develop some forward system, foreign to them in recent weeks. Jesse McLean and Thomas Fisher both played well in their 50th games, and Angus Morrison enjoyed one of his best games for the Club.
Again led strongly by Tom Delaney and George Yeoman, the boys enjoyed a very fruitful second quarter, booting eight goals to set up their rollicking victory. Macleod led the OH defence a merry dance and Olivier marked strongly as Seb Zaia and Yeoman constantly drove the ball forward. They sustained their effort in the second half to earn the points and demonstrate the spirit that has sustained them all year despite being restricted to five wins for the season.