St Bernards overpower Rovers

The Rovers suffered a demoralising five-point loss at the hands of St Bernards after dominating the first half at a wind-swept Snakepit on Saturday afternoon.

Hampton had defeated the Snowdogs earlier in the year at The Boss and after a win last week over Old Essendon, the Rovers were up and about for Saturday’s clash. The wind in Melbourne on Saturday was bad enough, but it seemed twice as bad down in the valley that is St Bernards College in Essendon West.

It was at least a six or seven goal wind favouring the southern end and it was the Rovers who kicked to that end in the opening term.

Ned Fallon came into the side to make his senior debut for the Rovers. The former East Sandringham junior joined the Under 19’s last year playing a full season before being picked up by the Sandringham Dragons in 2010. Despite being only 16 years old, he has played every game in the Under 18 TAC Cup side and featured in the best players for 7 of the 12 games and leads the goal kicking for the Dragons.

Hampton got off to a flyer with Daniel Corp kicking the Rovers first major before adding a further three for the term – he kicked five for the game. In all, the Rovers kicked six goals in the first and held a 40-point lead at the first break. The home side had a few chances but the wind held the ball up and the Rovers backline cleaned up, restricting the opposition to just the one behind.

The true test would come in the second term, but after St Bernards kicked the opening goal, it was the Rovers who kicked the next two majors against the gale to increase the lead to 47 points. Three goals to the home side in the final 10 minutes of the half reduced the margin to 30 points at the main break.

Despite the Rovers having the advantage of the wind in the third term, it was St Bernards who came out the stronger and more determined team. Amazingly they managed to kick seven goals towards the social rooms end with the Rovers making mistakes galore all over the ground and gifting the home side a couple of easy goals. Hampton managed three goals of their own and at the final break held a 10-point lead.

While it was a hugely disappointing third term, Rovers coach Matty Robbins reminded the boys they still held the lead and with plenty of hard work could still hold on to take the win. It wasn’t until the 16 minute mark that the home side kicked their second goal to take the lead for the first time. That would prove to be the final goal of the game. Tom Skewes had an opportunity at goal from about 35 metres out with under a minute to go but failed in his attempt against the strong wind. The final siren sounded and it was St Bernards who held on to win the game by 5 points.

The Rovers had blown a very good opportunity to take home the four points in a game they should have won and the disappointment showed on the faces of the players on the ground after the game and in the rooms. The loss makes the task of reaching the VAFA Premier B finals even more difficult than it already was, but there’s still a glimmer of hope.

This week sees the top two divisions of the VAFA have a week off. The following Saturday the Rovers take on University Blacks away at Melbourne University, who are now one game ahead on the ladder. Click Here to view the full ladder after 13 rounds.

HAMPTON ROVERS  6.5  8.7  11.13  11.15 (81)
ST BERNARDS  0.1  4.1  11.3  13.8 (86)
Goals: D. Corp 5, L. Fletcher , T. Skewes , C. Gleeson , T. Curry , R. Semmel , G. Martyn
Best: L. Fletcher, M. Devereaux, G. Carr, D. Corp, N. Fallon, D. Robbins

The Reserves put in a courageous performance but went down by 18 points. Michael Flahive kicked three goals while Garry Giasoumi was best for the Rovers.

The Under 19’s had a draw with arch-rivals Ajax at Boss James Reserve. Scores were locked at 41-apiece at the final siren. Best for the Rovers were Russell Howe, Jack Baxter and Jack Sperring.

The Thirds went down to Mazenod in Adam Power’s 200th VAFA game for the Rovers.

As mentioned, next week there are no games for the Seniors and Reserves, however the Thirds are at Boss James Reserve taking on Ormond at 11:40am and the Under 19’s take on local rivals Old Brighton at Brighton Beach Oval at 2pm.

Saturday night it’s the major Hampton Rovers function of 2010 – the Gala Ball, at the Sandringham Football Club. There are still tickets available – please click here for details.

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