Bowed, not broken
It was a bit like winning the toss and batting during the Ashes series in England.
Invariably, the upper hand was gained by the Poms in winning the toss, racking up a big first innings score in the first couple of days on a flat deck. Then seeing how the Australians fared on a deteriorating, crumbling wicket in the last couple of days.
So it was at South Oval on Saturday.
North Beach needed to win the toss, kick to the end favoured by a gale that blew across the ground, apply scoreboard pressure and see how Wesley Curtin responded.
Unfortunately, the twenty cent piece fell the wrong way, Wesley Curtin had first use of the scoring end and when they kicked two goals from the ‘dead’ pocket in the first five minutes it was always going to be a tough afternoon.
While it was possible to score at either end, the gale was blowing to the club house end and when the home side opened up a 34-point advantage in the first quarter, it was an uphill battle.
Eventually the Beach lost the qualifying final by 41 points – 13.13 (91) to 7.5 (47) – without really doing a lot wrong.
Now, if the O’Rourke Realty North Beach combination is to achieve the ultimate success in the WAAFL A-grade competition, it will have to do it the hard way.
Tough in the sense that it means fighting off elimination from the race in a couple of cut-throat finals, but the match committee is confident the players can respond. After all, not a lot needs to change in a game sense.
The second half was virtually even, but the Beach could make no in-roads to the early scoreboard advantage. Matt Power, Mitch Dwyer and Beau Witheridge did terrific work through the midfield to nullify the effect of quality players like former Richmond star Mark Coughlan, Conor Davidson and Steve Gravina, but Wesley’s second tier players did the damage.
In addition, the defensive unit locked down on former East and South Fremantle key position player Andrew McCarrey and his younger brother Zach, but still Wesley found a way to stack on the goals.
The defensive effort was well led by Aaron Jarvis, Kyle Holden and Tim Langsford who took key match-ups while Andrew Langsford continued his good form.
The Beach must now beat Swan Athletic in Saturday’s first semi-final to remain in the premiership hunt.
The Credent Financial Services A-Reserves will also be in battle this week in the second semi-final, having earned a week off by finishing on top of the ladder.
Unfortunately, the Nuchange Phil Scott Colts were curtailed in a high quality elimination final against Fremantle CBC, losing by eight points after leading for most of the day.
The colts played strong and committed football and were deserving of advancing beyond the first week.
They controlled the balance of play for most of the day, led brilliantly by enthusiastic midfielder Jamie Rudrum, Michael Assman, Brennan Irvine, Sam Zehnder and Blake Morgan.
It seemed they were on track to advance until the five minutes before three-quarter time, when momentum began to shift. But the Beach still led by 17 points at the last change and still held sway, until CBC started to link play.
Kicking to the scoring end, they started to take advantage of their ruck dominance and finished strongly.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Wesley Curtin 6.4 9.6 11.10 13.13 91
North Beach 1.0 3.2 5.2 7.5 47
Goals – North Beach: Harwood 2; Cranley, McComiskie, Power, Stott, Wilson.
Best – North Beach: Jarvis, Power, Holden, Witheridge, Dwyer, T Langsford.
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
Fremantle CBC 1.2 2.2 4.3 9.5 59
North Beach 2.0 5.1 7.2 8.3 51
Goals – North Beach: Rudrum, Zehnder 2; Cameron, Irvine, McGuire, Reid.
Best – North Beach: Rudrum, Assman, Irvine, Zehnder, Morgan.