By Gary Stocks
There are moments in sport which define our love for it.
On Saturday at Charles Riley Reserve, one such moment materialised in a gripping one point victory for North Beach over North Fremantle – 4.9 (33) to 4.8 (32)
It was a filthy Perth afternoon, punctuated by heavy showers, tumbling in buckets from leaden skies. Gale-force winds wrecked the domed tents covering the bench and sent perimeter signage racing across the balcony in front of the new social hall.
And the victory by North Beach over the Maggies was befitting the conditions.
Pretty, precise and pristine it was not. No, this one was carved from heart, commitment and individual heroics. The chaos outside the boundary was mirrored on it.
The Beach, a youthful and energetic outfit which is enjoying a hands-on education in senior football every week, continues to excite with potential while continuing to make some fundamental errors that young teams do.
But the one thing that could not be questioned at any point during this campaign is the unity, the bond and the drive of this group to continue the proud tradition of this great footy club.
It is rare that a scoreless quarter could be regarded as a positive, but that was the case in this epic battle. Kicking against the breeze in the opening term, the Beach conceded just two goals. It was 25 minutes of frenetic action, every player digging deep within to find the effort needed to assist the team cause.
And so it was for the rest of the day. Just a handful of points separating the two teams until the Beach fell over the line in the desperate final minutes.
At the risk of sounding like a junior match report, it took an entire team effort, but there were some who were marginally better than others. Youngster Reece Holdman, defenders Andy Langsford and Michael Schofield, tough midfielder Sammy Lamont, the experienced Michael Taylor and forward Joel Fishlock were magnificent.
Earlier the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves produced a masterlass of wet weather football, completely dominating against North Fremantle on the way to a 52-point triumph.
After a good start with the breeze, the Beach consolidated, kicking three against it, with a number of outstanding contributors throughout the day.
Craig Hall set an exceptional standard with four goals, but most of all, he was the benchmark with his attack on the contest. Dion Cownie was similarly strong in the clinches and hit the scoreboard with three goals, while Jacob Coper, Trevor Lang and Earl Quinlan were also consistent throughout.
The Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts, after a sluggish start, adjusted to the conditions and controlled the second half to come from behind and score a convincing 23-point win.
Liam Hooper, Liam Pardini, Sam Evans, Nick Marsh, Brad Waters and Adam Swain were outstanding as the Beach consolidated a position in the top three.
Hooper’s four goals on a challenging day for forwards was exceptional, especially considering it was half of the Beach’s total score.
The pressure from the Beach was exceptional and North Fremantle scored just one goal in the second half, from virtually their only forward 50 entry and it was a miraculous snap from the boundary line.
The Redhill Brett Jones Colts also scored a solid win against Trinity Aquinas at Bill Grayden Reserve, that victory giving the Beach a chance of sneaking into the top four as the colts group builds belief and confidence.
The standard was set early by the attack on the ball of Jordan Brooks, while Richard Nguyen and Brody Hinkley were also players who relished the heavy going on the saucer-shaped ground.
The Cabling Network Solutions D1-Reserves started poorly and while they produced a much better second half, the Trintity-Aquinas horse had already bolted and set up a 26-point win.
Tom McComiskie, Jon Turner and Ryan Clapham produced solid contributions, but coach Daniel Wheeler lamented a poor preparation and will demand higher standards as the Beach targets a top three position.
The challenge for the Express Bins E1-Grade is that they are often confronting the senior team from rival clubs and a solid, committed effort was not enough against East Fremantle.
Coach Novak Smith thought the players worked hard, did not receive value for their output, but will continue to chip away as they look back up a grand final performance in the grade below last year.
Owen Collins, Luke Ferreri and Jordan Dye were all strong contributors for the Beach.
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach 0.0 2.5 3.6 4.9 33
North Frem 2.2 2.4 4.7 4.8 32
Goals – North Beach: Cameron 2; Fishlock, Lamont.
Best – North Beach: Holdman, A Langsford, Schofield, Lamont, Taylor. Fishlock
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
North Beach 4.2 7.2 11.3 11.5 71
North Frem 0.0 1.0 1.2 2.7 19
Goals – North Beach: Hall 4; Pardini 3; Cownie 2; Ekert, Scantlebury.
Best – North Beach: Hall, Cownie, Ekert, Lang, Quinlan, Cooper.
Coast to Coast Imports Phil Scott Colts
North Beach 2.1 2.5 4.6 8.9 57
North Frem 2.2 4.3 4.4 5.4 34
Goals – North Beach: Hooper 4, Waters 2; Adler, Marsh.
Best – North Beach: Hooper, Pardini, Evans, Marsh, Swain, Ticknell.
Hybrid Linings D1-Reserves
Trin-Aquinas 2.4 5.9 5.13 7.16 58
North Beach 1.1 1.3 3.4 4.8 32
Goals – North Beach: B Boys 2; Bramley, Csar.
Best – North Beach: T McComiskie, Turner, Clapham.
Redhill Brett Jones Colts
North Beach 3.5 7.9 8.11 9.20 74
Trin-Aquinas 2.4 3.4 4.7 4.8 32
Goals – North Beach: Brooks, Hinkley, Staines 2; Hamilton, McCarthy, Reidy.
Best – North Beach: Brooks, Nguyen, Hinkley.
Express Bins E1-Grade
East Frem 3.0 4.2 7.5 10.5 65
North Beach 1.1 2.2 3.2 3.5 23
Goals – North Beach: Jopson, Smith, Harrison.
Best – North Beach: O Collins, L Ferreri, Dye, Padgett.