OLD BRIGHTON: 12.7.79
DE LA SALLE: 9.13.67
TONNERS LOCK IN THE FINALS
Old Brighton Grammarians will play in the Premier Division finals for only the second time in our history, the first time since competing in the 2007 Grand Final. That this has been achieved with four games still to play, is a fine achievement. That the boys locked this in yesterday with a wonderful win at De La Salle, where we have struggled to compete, let alone win, made it a special day yesterday. The Blues’ narrow defeat at Harry Trott means that at worst, The Tonners will finish fourth. However, as our boys have repeatedly shown all season, they compete so hard that nothing seems beyond them. If we hadn’t lost two games with half the group disappearing overseas, the pundits might really be talking up our chances. Now it is a matter of staying healthy.
Yesterday’s match was played in very cold conditions but there was nothing frigid about the footy. It was a terrific contest all day. As the home side ran the ball over every square inch of their undulating oval, our blokes had plenty of work to do to stay with them in the first half. De La led by 7 points at the long break, neither side able to crack its opponent. Michael Karayannis played brilliantly all day and pounced on a chance to open our scoring, crumbing on the line in his trademark fashion. Jimmy Davis, another star yesterday, drove through a lovely second goal from a good distance before Seb Williams closed the quarter with a set shot that provided us with a point margin at the break. Ben Jarick, rushed into the side after Barclay Miller injured his thumb last week, was competing hard at the bounce, where Eddie Tait led the tough stuff in close.
The home side looked a little more comfortable in the second term and our defence was tested. Dylan Verney’s closing speed enabled him to make several crucial interceptions, and he kept the La De Da’s out with help from Elliot Le Grice, Tom Larkworthy and Tom Yorgey who regularly combined to turn De La back. Twice, Yorgey pushed forward but was unable to score before Andy Dewar skilfully worked his shot from the flank through for our only goal for the quarter. The boys kept in the contest, but they were struggling to score, and we spent most of the time pressuring the home side who were running hard, and in typical fashion used all kinds of angles to enter their scoring zone.
Hutchy sent Elliot Le Grice forward in the third term. We desperately needed a target and it proved a crucial move. The home side kicked the opener when inexperience at the back let them in, but Le Grice marked strongly, and fed Yorgey, who landed the ball with The Pocket Rocket. Kara took the chance. Shortly after, Le Grice again combined with Yorgey to allow Zimmer to bring us closer. When a De La defender erred across goal, Will Lewis goaled to put us in front and we looked far better balanced. The Tonners’ confidence rose as Le Grice and Zimmer gave Kara another chance and he seagulled it beautifully for his third. It had been a significant quarter hour that swung the game our way and set up an exciting final term.
The Pocket Rocket started it in superb style when he manoeuvred onto the toughest flank on the ground and steered the angle delightfully for his fourth. The Tonners were on fire. Seb Williams found Zimmer, who kicked his third and when Will Lewis nailed his set shot after a free, we had kicked seven goals in a row and appeared to have the game at our mercy. But the home side are never beaten here. They run hard and can score just as quickly. They kicked two quickly as the Tonners were forced to chase hard and fill the spaces that forced their opponents wide. With home supporters frustrated by the Tonners’ ability to force De La into error, we closed our grip, but still the home side attacked. They missed twice then goaled and only a kick separated the sides. The Tonners desperately needed something special, and Little Bobby provided it!! Some of our supporters had a perfect view when Zimmer took Levi Otto’s hand pass deep on the outer flank. They swear that Zimmer deliberately aimed his banana snap ten metres left of the goal post, and it arced back perfectly to seal the match with 1.48 left on the clock! A piece of crafted genius from the little bloke that nailed a wonderful victory that would soon assume great significance.
Goals: Karayannis 4, Zimmerman 3, Lewis 2, Davis, A. Dewar, Williams
Best: Verney, Karayannis, Le Grice, Davis, Tait, Jakobi