By Gary Stocks
The days are starting to get a little longer and slightly warmer. The smell of liniment is thicker in the air and there is no mistaking the scent of finals footy.
Certainly it’s a familiar time for North Beach stalwart Bill “Bull” Duckworth and again his team will headline the opportunities for the club to bring home the September bacon.
Duckworth stepped back into the coaching fray this year, having called a halt to his stint as senior coach, which netted a remarkable 10 premierships in 17 seasons, but was coerced into the fold to pilot the club’s thirds team.
It is no coincidence that with a mix of developing youngsters and a group of senior players accustomed to success, that the Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade finished on top of the table at the end of the qualifying rounds.
They earned a week’s break by finishing as minor premiers and will on Saturday ramp up their campaign when they play Trinity Aquinas in the second semi-final at Percy Doyle.
With long-serving and highly successful former A-Grade stars like Mitch and Scott Holbrook, Chris Perkin, Leon Spiccia, Jake Robinson and others filtering through to blend neatly with a few graduating colts, it has been a stunning success. Not surprising, but remarkable nonetheless.
The experienced players, in conjunction with Duckworth, have provided a rounded football education for some of the youngsters not yet ready to transition into the senior squad and it should prove to be hugely beneficial for the future.
The effect of the success of the thirds has cascaded down the chain too.
Daniel Wheeler has taken over the helm with the Hybrid Lings D1-Reserves and they, too, have had a successful campaign. At times their numbers – and hence their depth – has been tested by issues further up the line, but they have coped and are look forward to positive outcomes.
Last week they were beaten by a couple of goals in the qualifying final, but will regroup and tomorrow will tackle Wesley Curtin at McGillivray Oval.
And the Express Bins E2-Grade have also qualified for finals, played in the qualifying final last week, scoring a meritorious victory and will now play a second semi-final. They turned around a seven goal loss in the last qualifying round to defeat Willetton in a re-match last Saturday.
Novak Smith took over the reins mid-season and has done a terrific job with the boys.
Both colts teams are also engaged in the thick of finals activity. The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts will play Fremantle CBC in the qualifying final at South Oval and it will be a challenging encounter, but the Beach boasts the talent and where-with-all to triumph.
The Brett Jones Colts will tackle Wesley Curtin in the first semi-final at McGillivray Oval and will be anxious to rebound from the disappointment of the qualifying final defeat last week.
Again, the Beach has great depth within the colts ranks and have the capacity to push deep into this finals series.
Cabling Network Solutions D1-Grade
North Beach v Trinity Aquinas, Percy Doyle Oval, 2.30pm
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
North Beach v Wesley Curtin, McGillivray Oval, 12.35pm
Express Bins E2-Grade
Fremantle CBC v North Beach, Morris Buzzacott Reserve, 2.30pm
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Fremantle CBC, South Oval, 10.40am
Brett Jones Colts North Beach v Wesley Curtin, McGillivray Oval, 10.40am