Three points is all that separated the only B Section undefeated team in St Kevins and the only team on zero points in Hampton Rovers when they met at Righetti Oval on Saturday.
Downtown Kooyong was the location and Melbournes autumn weather was at its best for this Round 3 clash of 2009. Hampton could draw many positives from its two opening losses of the season and while they certainly looked the goods they will again be ruing their missed opportunities that could have easily seen them celebrating their first victory of the season.
It was a tight game throughout, with the margin never exceeding much more than a couple of goals and in fact at every break, both the Rovers and Skevs were equal on goals. Out for the Rovers was Gary Carr while Rob Alexander came in to the side for his first game of the season.
From the opening bounce, the game was played at a frenetic pace, and the intensity remained throughout the game. Rovers captain Matt Lawrence kicked the opening goal of the game and the Rovers managed another with the home side also kicking a couple to bring the margin back to two points at quarter time.
St Kevins coach Stuart Powell delivered his charges a rocket at the first break while Gary Sheldon was pleased with his teams early form. The Rovers second quarter in its two previous games had been disappointing to say the least and on this occasion the boys did much better kicking three goals. At the main break Hampton held a one point lead with Leeroy De Boer the best on ground in the opening half on the wing in front of the visiting supporters.
The home team had the bulk of the scoring shots in the third term yet both teams could only add the two goals each to the scoreboard and at the final break it was St Kevins with a slight 5 point lead.
The home side got the jump early on in the final stanza kicking a couple of goals however it didn?t take long for the Rovers to respond. However several missed opportunities in front of goals would again prove costly for the visitors. Ryan Semmel received a free kick in front of goal and converted his third goal however the final siren blew as the ball went over the goal umpires head with the Rovers falling three points short.
It was a shattering loss with the boys coming so close however once again many positives could be taken from the game. The opening three rounds has seen the Rovers come close to three quality sides and today was another big improvement with the boys putting four quarters together for the first team this season.
The Rovers had several best players including Leeroy De Boer, Thom McCarthy, Anton Duddy, Hayden Lewis, Ryan Semmel and Leigh Fletcher. Semmel finished with 3 goals and Lawrence 2 with singles to Devereaux, Curry and Ting.
The Rovers now look forward to returning to Boss James Reserve next Saturday following two weeks on the road to take on Old Carey in Round 4 action. Confidence remains high in the Rovers camp with a great atmosphere continuing at the club this year and the boys will be keen to get their opening win of the season.
Todays games proved B Section is undoubtable the VAFAs most even senior section. In other games, the other promoted team Ormond defeated flag favourites Old Melburnians, Old Carey drew with St Bernards, Old Camberwell managed their first win of the season defeating Old Trinity and University Blacks defeated star-studded Old Haileybury. The Old Carey drawn game relegates the Rovers to the bottom however their percentage remains strong.
ST KEVINS 2.2 5.6 7.13 9.15 (69)
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.4 5.7 7.8 9.12 (66)
Goals: R. Semmel 3, M. Lawrence 2, M. Devereaux, J. Zampaglione, T. Curry, J. Ting
Best: L. De Boer, T. McCarthy, A. Duddy, H. Lewis, R. Semmel, L. Fletcher
In the early game, the Reserves held the lead at the opening break however it was all St Kevins from that point on who went on to record a solid victory.
Back at Boss James Reserve, it was the first Thirds/U19 double-header of the year, played in front of a healthy crowd. The Thirds again showed improvement however couldn?t manage their first victory going down to Caulfield. The Under 19s followed, taking on local rivals Bentleigh, going on to win by 7 goals and remain undefeated in 2009. (click here for U19 report)
VAFA B SECTION: ROUND 3 SUMMARY
OLD CAREY def. by ST BERNARDS (10.9-69 20.20-140)
ORMOND def. by OLD MELBURNIANS (8.12-60 18.10-118)
OLD CAMBERWELL def. by OLD TRINITY (8.6-54 13.10-88)
OLD HAILEYBURY def. by UNI BLACKS (6.5-41 11.14-80)
ST KEVINS def. HAMPTON ROVERS (18.13-121 4.10-34)