Fate confirmed with Caulfield loss

Hampton Rovers’ hopes of avoiding relegation were dashed on Saturday, going down to ladder-leaders Caulfield Grammarians by 55 points at Boss James Reserve.

The Rovers had won their previous two matches and were looking for a positive result in the final home game of the season. Sandringham Zebras listed players Richard Atkins and Nick Pavlou come into the side however Nathan Smith’s exclusion was a setback and Luke Verma was elevated to the Sandy Seniors.

The boys had confidence in the rooms prior to the game and they matched it with the opposition in the first half – leading by two points at quarter time after goals to McPherson and Bradford, and trailing by nine points at the half time with a one goal to two second term. It was a low-scoring affair with just six goals on the scoreboard and the visitors lacking accuracy on goal.

The second half started in bizarre circumstances with Caulfield Grammarians calling for a headcount. The umpires lined up both sides and with 18 players counted for each, Hampton were awarded a free kick on the goal line – Darcy Merlo kicked truly to reduce the margin to three points.

From there, it unravelled for the Rovers. Players became increasingly frustrated and the ladder-leaders took control, on the scoreboard, increasing their 32-point three-quarter time lead to 55 points as the final siren sounded.

Josh Pavlou was best for the Rovers and was well supported by Richard Atkins and Roland De Biase. There were six individual goal kickers each with one major.

Next week, the Rovers travel to Keysborough to face Old Mentonians in the final round of the 2017 season and the final game in Premier C section for the time being.

The VAFA competition is certainly about the ups and downs and it goes around in cycles with the double promotion & relegation system. These two clubs last met in 2015, in Premier B. That year, the Rovers won on both occasions convincingly, Caulfield finished bottom and were relegated, while the Rovers won six matches and survived, finishing seventh on the ladder. This year, Hampton has won six matches with one round remaining, yet will be relegated to Division 1 while Caulfield sit first and are flag favourites. The Rovers last dropped to Division 1 in 2013 – losing just two matches and winning the first of two consecutive Premierships. The club is set to work extra hard over the off-season to set-up a successful period and return to where the club belongs.

HAMPTON ROVERS  2.2  3.3  4.4  6.9 (45)
CAULFIELD GRAMMARIANS  1.6  3.12  7.18  13.22 (100)
Goal Kickers: J. McPherson, N. Pavlou, A. Folino, O. Roberts, S. Bradford, C. Carnovale
Best Players: J. Pavlou, R. Atkins, R. De Biase, S. Clements, J. Prosser, J. Lloyd

Click here to watch the match replay >

The Reserves put in a spirited display against second-placed Caulfield. Down by just one point at the main break, the Rovers took the lead in the third term before the visitors snatched it back and led by seven points at the final change and finished 14-point victors.

Shem Curry and Rory Lynch were best for the Rovers while Jed Lloyd kicked three goals.

The Under 19 seconds had a big 58-point win over Aquinas at Castlefield Reserve and secured a spot in the finals – finishing sixth in the 12-team section. They now take on Oakleigh in the Semi Final on Saturday at Scammell Reserve – 11:40am start.

The U19 firsts went down to Old Haileybury away from home in their final game of the season.

Don’t forget – the 2017 Domino Luncheon is this Friday at the Cheltenham Golf Club. Over 100 people booked and a few spots remaining – click here for details >

Senior Presentation Night will be held on Thursday 28th September at the Sandringham Yacht Club – book your tickets online now >

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