By Gary Stocks
Reality bit last Saturday when the O’Rourke Realty North Beach A-Grade team was out-pointed by league leader Trinity-Aquinas.
The upshot is that pushing into a top three position and earning a double chance in the finals series appears slim so the next month is about building momentum and taking some energy and confidence into September.
That process will start tomorrow when the Beach tackles Swan Athletic at Fawell Park in a game where much is on the line for both clubs.
It’s unlikely the Beach will play in anything other than an elimination final in the first week of the finals series, while Swan Athletic would like to be the club’s opponent in that fixture.
After earning promotion to A-Grade this season, Swan Athletic has been more than competitive and a finals series in their first year back in the top division would be a great achievement. Currently they sit in sixth position, just one game and two percent behind Whitford.
In essence, if they beat the Tigers, they will probably advance to fifth spot, given the Warriors play second-placed University.
So you would expect Athletic to be pumped for this match and the challenge for the Beach will be to match that intensity, particularly early in the contest. While it is about building momentum for a finals campaign, a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. And this must be viewed as the Beach’s first step.
The match committee made several changes at selection, injecting some youth into the line-up through the elevation of Ben Sweeney, Kris Hackett, Chris Thompson and Matt Power, so coach Bill Duckworth will be hoping that raw energy and hardness will have the desired effect.
It’s a similar story, but different, for the Credent Financial Services A-Reserves.
Their position on the ladder is unlikely to change in the next month, having virtually secured top spot when they maintained their unbeaten record against Trinity-Aquinas last Saturday.
They will have a week off in the first round of finals, but like the A-Grade team, will be looking to maintain momentum. To date they have answered every challenge and with positions in the team tight, that competition for places should serve to drive them over the last month of qualifying rounds.
The Nuchange Phil Scott Colts have a different reason for motivation. Finals, barring a miracle, are out of the equation, but the challenge is to finish as strongly as possible build belief and take some confidence and pride into the off-season.
At times they have produced some irresistible football, but have been a little inconsistent, and it would be good to finish the year off with a string of good performances.
The Townley Group D1 Grade is coming off consecutive losses and will be keen to hit the winners’ list again, when they tackle Hamersley-Carine at Charles Riley Reserve.
Despite those defeats, the Beach sits in second position on the ladder and has selected a well-balanced, impressive looking team for this encounter.
The Clipstar D1-Reserves have had a tough year, losing a number of tight matches, but habe an opportunity to improve their record against their neighbourhood rival.
The Beach sits in eighth position, one win and one spot behind Hamersley-Carine, so this represents a great opportunity to leapfrog them on the ladder.
The Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts are also looking for a strong finish to the year and get the chance to kick-start the run home when they play Wesley-Curtin.
Finals are a definite opportunity for the Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade and they will play a crucial match against Ocean Ridge at Heathridge Park tomorrow. Ocean Ridge currently occupy second position while the Beach is fourth, so this looms as an important contest against a team that may well be a premiership rival.
Fixtures, August 4, 2012
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
Swan Athletic v North Beach, 2.30pm Fawell Park
Credent Financial Services A-Reserves
Swan Athletic v North Beach, 12.35pm Fawell Park
Nuchange Phil Scott Colts
Swan Athletic v North Beach, 10.45am Fawell Park
Townley Group D1-Grade
North Beach v Hamersley-Carine, 2.30pm Charles Riley Reserve
North Beach v Hamersley-Carine, 12.35pm Charles Riley Reserve
Tuck Plumbing Brett Jones Colts
North Beach v Wesley-Curtin, 10.45am Charles Riley Reserve
Pana’s Pool Supplies E2-Grade
Ocean Ridge v North Beach, 2.30pm Heathridge Park
By Gary Stocks