An under strength Hampton Rovers outfit went down to Old Melburnians by 77 points in the Redlegs last ever home and away fixture at Junction Oval on Saturday.
The Rovers went into the game with no less than five forced changes from the previous week due to injuries, unavailability and suspension. Jack Baxter and Matthew Law made their senior debut while a few other fringe firsts players had a chance to impress on the immaculate Junction Oval surface.
On the other hand, the B Section ladder leaders had a near full-strength side including all four Beaumonts playing together in the seniors for the first time. As well as James Beaumont, OMs other AFL experience included Charlies Gardiner and Steven Greene.
As seems to be the norm, it was again windy, favouring the St Kilda end in the opening term, of which the Rovers had the advantage of. The visitors kicked the opening goal of the game however it didn?t take long for the OMs to warm up – they went on to kick five majors to the Rovers two to hold a 16 point lead at the first change.
The second quarter was a repeat of the first, again five goals to two in favour of the home side to stretch their margin to 39 points at the long break. For the Rovers, Jay Ting was playing very well while Old Melburnians pace and skill all over the ground proved why they?re top of the ladder and premiership favourites.
Again in the third term with the wind, the Rovers could manage just the two goals while the Redlegs kicked three but missed many opportunities to kick more. The Rovers started much better in the final term moving the ball well, however after kicking an early goal, it was all Old Melburnians from then on, kicking five to make the final margin 77 points.
Jason Zampaglione, who played up front in Matt Lawrences place, was the only multiple goal kicker with two up to half time before coming off. Best for the Rovers were Jay Ting, Chris Gleeson, Tom Curry, Mark Devereaux, Gerrard Woods, Stuart Burggraaff and Josh Verlin.
In other B Section results on Saturday, Old Carey thrashed Ormond, St Kevins came back to defeat Old Camberwell, Old Trinity defeated Uni Blacks and Old Haileybury kept their slim finals hopes alive just getting over the line against St Bernards.
That sets up an absolutely monster clash at Boss James Reserve in the final round of the season this upcoming Saturday when Hampton Rovers take on long time arch rivals Ormond. These two proud district clubs share a long history, climaxing in the 1951 A Section Grand Final, while the two went head to head in last years C Section season decided. On Saturday as the final siren sounds, the winner will enjoy another season in B Section, while the loser will be relegated back to C Section for 2010.
A big crowd is expected to be in attendance for the final game of the home and away season, and all Rovers supporters are encouraged along and cheer the Rovers over the line. Hampton will welcome a number of players back into the side and it promises to be a tough contest. Get in early and book your seat for the pre-game Luncheon – Click Here for details.
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.4 4.5 6.8 7.10 (52)
OLD MELBURNIANS 5.2 10.8 13.16 18.21 (129)
Goals: J. Zampaglione 2, S. Burggraaff, A. Fisher, N. Lyall, J. Verlin, C. Gleeson
Best: J. Ting, C. Gleeson, T. Curry, M. Devereaux, G. Woods, S. Burggraaff
Todays game between Hampton Rovers and Old Melburnians was the last home game for the Redlegs at the Junction Oval. In whats a real shame for this historic ground and football in general, Cricket Victoria will take over the venue and develop it into a cricket-only facility. Next weeks C Section semi finals are expected to be the final games of Australian Rules Football played at the former home of the St Kilda and Fitzroy Football Clubs. Certainly a big loss for football and the VAFA.
In the earlier game, the Reserves stayed in touch with the home side early on but Old Melburnians then took firm grip on the game and went on to thrash the Rovers.
At Boss James Reserve, the Under 19s had a tough encounter with Old Mentonians and ended up getting over the line by seven points. Going into the final round, the Rovers shared top spot with Ajax, however they were shocked by Bentleigh, going down by 88 points and handing Hampton Rovers a well deserved Minor Premiership. The Rovers take on Ajax next Sunday in the second Semi Final at Elsternwick Park at 2:15pm. Click Here for the full U19 match report.