Thirds Triumph!

Against all the odds, the Hampton Rovers Thirds recorded their maiden victory on Saturday defeating second-placed Ormond by five goals at Boss James Reserve.

Going into the game, the VAFA Club XVIII South ladder looked something like this: undefeated Old Melburnians on top followed by Ormond is second position with nine wins and two losses and a percentage of 203%. Their only losses against Melburnians and the mob from Scummell Reserve. Seven positions below was Hampton Rovers, while actually not winning a game, still had four points due to South Melbourne Districts forfeiting, and a miserable percentage of 34%.

The two teams previously met in the season opener at the Gunn, on that occasion it was Ormond running out comfortable 137-point winners. The highlight that day, Michael Flahive kicking the Rovers only goal of the game.

While the Hampton Rovers had a Clubbies team several years ago for one season, 2009 is the first year we?ve run it primarily as a Thirds team. The club seeing it has a vital step in being successful in B section and above. While it wasn?t all easy going getting things up and running, things slowly started falling into place, and a bunch of new player registrations eventually came flowing through, along with several inward clearances.

While winning isn?t the be all and end all of the Thirds, it’s not doubt something all the guys have wanted to experience since the opening bounce of the season. From kicking one goal in round one, the team has gone from strength to strength, and a breakthrough win didn?t seem too far away.

Cold and windy conditions greeted the players at Boss James Reserve on Saturday. The Rovers kicked with the gale towards the David Street end in the first term. Ormond kicked the opening goal of the day – here we go again. Not so – the Rovers responded and kicked the next four.

While holding a 19-point lead at quarter time, the home side knew they had it all to do in the second term with Ormond kicking with the strong wind. However the Rovers held their own and managed to keep the Blues goalless while kicking one major of their own to improve their lead at the main break.

The third quarter was all green and gold, with the Rovers kicking three goals while Ormond couldn?t even manage a minor score. At the final break, it was Hampton leading by 41 points. Coach Glenn Roulent rallied his troups and ensured the guys kept on their game in the final term. While a Rovers win was looking likely, Ormond with the wind could do anything.

The visitors had only managed a single goal up to three quarter time. Could they kick seven in the last? While they did more than double their score, they fell well short, only managing a further three majors. The Rovers were held scoreless, however as the final siren blew at the Boss, it was the Rovers Thirds getting up 8.5.53 to Ormond 3.9.27.

It was the first time many of the guys involved had ever sung the Rovers club song, and while the melody wasn?t quite up there with the Seniors after-match antics, the buzz in the rooms was something very special.

Liam Woodland was best in front of goal, kicking four while Emery Lonie kicked two and singles to Elies El Chaar and Jason Laver. Best players for the Rovers included Nathan Foster, Liam Woodland, Michael Flahive, Elies El Chaar, Ash Pratt and Matt Terech.

An amazing 54 players have played at least one game in the Thirds this year. These include new players to the club, many returning players and players who have been unable to train or are simply looking to still have a kick but take things less seriously.

The win is a testament to all involved, from the two in charge: Glenn Roulent (Coach) and Rod Haverfield (Team Manager), to all the players who?ve been an integral part since day one: El Chaar, Woodland, Dynon, Cougan, Wills, just to name a few, and of course to all the other helpers who without them this new team wouldn?t have been able to proceed.

Now full of confident, the Thirds next week take on Old Scotch at Boss James Reserve. With the Seniors having a Bye, all supporters are encouraged down to watch the guys at 11:40am followed by the Under 19’s at 2pm. The following week the Thirds have a Bye and pick up an automatic win due to South Melbourne’s withdrawal while the week after they play their final game of the season against St Mary’s Salesian, also at home.

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