A one goal to seven first term set the scene for a loss to Ajax on Saturday, but apart from the result it was a great day at Boss James Reserve as we celebrated Leigh Fletcher’s 200th and Hall of Fame inductees.
The Rovers were playing some of their worst footy for the year in the first term, not manning up allowing Ajax multiple avenues to goal. Down by 36 points at the first change, things didn’t improve on the scoreboard in the second as the Rovers were held goalless while the visitors kicked a further three majors to extend their lead to 55 points. It was an improved performance however but the Rovers just couldn’t convert that to scoring opportunities.
Fayman was on fire for Ajax, kicking the majority of their score and the Rovers just couldn’t shut him down. Fletcher, McNeil, DeBiase, McPherson and Atkins all worked hard to stem the flow. The Rovers were dealt a blow in the opening minutes of the game when U19 Big V captain Christian Carnovale was sidelined to injury, he didn’t return but should be ok for next week.
At half time, coach Owen Lalor gave the boys a well justified spray and in the second half they responded. A goal in the opening minute of the third term was followed by another to Ed Turner and with Danny Corp and Guy Martyn active in the goal square, the Rovers were on top of the opposition. The quarter ended with Sam Clements bombing to the goal square where Marto took advantage of the drop and popped through Hampton’s fourth of the term. The Rovers continued to struggle down back to counter the bigger and stronger Ajax forwards, but it was an improved performance as Hampton outscored the visitors for the term.
At the final break the boys were upbeat. Early in the last, the Rvoers had plenty of the play but again struggled to convert that on the scoreboard. Nath Smith popped through the first of the last and soon after he kicked the goal of the day, running through the middle, taking a few bounces, and slotting it from 50 out. The Rovers just edged Ajax in the last term, so it was a much improved second half, but the damage was done early, resulting in a 52-point win to Ajax.
The day was all about Leigh Fletcher though in his 200th VAFA game for the club. He finished that off being named best for the Rovers. All day he was in the play, on top of his opponent and relishing the freedom of playing an attacking role from half back. He was chaired off the ground in front of the large Rovers crowd in attendance at the Boss.
Next week the Rovers are back at home, hosting Old Haileybury and the boys will be looking to defeat the Bloods for the second time this season.
HAMPTON ROVERS 1.4 1.6 5.11 8.15 (63)
AJAX 7.4 10.7 13.10 17.13 (115)
Goal Kickers: N. Smith 3, J. McPherson, E. Turner, A. Folino, A. McNeil, D. Corp
Best Players: L. Fletcher, W. Walker, J. McPherson, A. McNeil, N. Smith, A. Folino
Leigh Fletcher’s 200th game milestone video played at the lunch:
Prior to the game, the clubrooms were buzzing with a sold-out Hall of Fame Luncheon. Over 120 were in attendance, plus others who were unable to get a seat, as the club inducted seven legends. We’ll have more on this in another article to be posted soon on the Rovers website.
On the field, it was better news for the Under 19s, who recorded an 83-point victory over Old Ivanhoe away from home. Cam Hetherington kicked five goals and Will Jackson four for the Rovers, while Harry Crisp was best.