A huge day at TH King on the weekend for the SKOB Saints Pride Round which went fabulously well off the field - if not quite as well on. Our Seniors dropped their third in a row and have come back to the pack after a 5-0 start but are starting to get some key personnel back. Two on the trot for both the Ressies and the Academy put their respective teams back in the mix, while for the Juniors, the wins keep coming in Premier as they stay top, the Div 2's hit back with a win and the Div 4's fight bravely but go down to Xavs at Old Rigret.
Saints miss their Cue as Bears flip the script on Pride Day
We first head to TH King where the Saints took centre stage on the biggest home and away fixture on the calendar - the Annual Pride Round. This year's opponents Kew Football Club brought three teams and a great attitude to the King - although they spoilt the party somewhat by taking the points in all three games. The real winner on the day was Pride, Unity and Inclusivity - all key messages on the pre match banners which were run through by players from both clubs who showed a tremendous spirit and a real enjoyment for the occasion. There was some serious footy to play and in the Premier game our Gold team stormed home late but came up just a couple of points short in a high quality, top of the table encounter with the unbeaten Bears. Kew got the jump early and looked to be in control at half time, but the Saints Gold, drawing inspiration from Coach Purcell's flamboyant garb came home strongly , keeping their opponents goalless in the second half. They nearly got it done but just fell short despite the huge efforts of Bree Doyle, Marg Gleeson, Sarah Betts, Elyce Hay, Elysia Burvill and Emily Condon.
One of the Saints great characters Maggie McDonough played her 50th game and was chaired off with Elyce Hay who has played her final game for the Saints before moving to London.
The Saints Blue were short a few key players and taking on a team that haven't lost a game all season, but you wouldn't know it from the way they attacked the contest from the get go. Fired up to perform in front of a big crowd, the Saints gave Coach Strauss plenty of reason to smile, as the man for whom shoes and matchday never mix grinned from ear to ear watching the way the Saints went about it. Giving their all they were not quite able to match Kew for the four quarters but lost no fans for their gallant performance.
For the Green machine the early start and slippery conditions made for a scoreline more familiar with the FA Cup Final, but that didn't reflect the great contest played between two willing teams who never stopped striving for the win. It was heart stopping stuff as the ball moved from end to end with both teams' defences holding up superbly and neither attacks able to breach the fortress at each end. The ball was parked in the Saints forward line for almost the entire final quarter but they couldn't break the Bears who held on for a two point win. The Saints had great players across the ground with the best of them being Poppy Somerville, Gen Holden, Edenn Baczyk, the Georgies - Nolan & McEwen and Charlie Lupson
Seniors cram it late but miss the deadline at Uni
A late charge from the SKOB Seniors almost saw them snatch the points at Melbourne Uni Oval and but for one less coat of paint on the post might well have seen them home. Unfortunately, as was the case when this scribe went to University, there were no extensions for late work and it was not to be as SKOB fell 3 points short at the final siren. Some wayward kicking in the third term was the most likely culprit for SKOB who will rue that this one got away. Uni Blues looked well in control before SKOB finally got their engine going and booted three late goals in the fading light. The loss now throws them out of the top four and the bye probably comes at a good time for them to regroup and come back after a break. Another 7 changes to the lineup saw the long awaited return of a few Premiership stars from 2022 but perhaps they were still short of a run as it took SKOB some time to get into the swing and gain some ascendancy, and the Blues were worthy winners of a tight contest.
Best for SKOB Seniors: Josh Wallis, Harry Wardlaw, Luke Winter, Anthony Seaton, Cal Matheson, Jack Darmody
Another 5 goal opening quarter set up a win for the Reserves. Unlike their Senior brethren of late, the Ressies have been able to jump smartly from the barriers and control the narrative from there. Our man on the ground, Yanni, has penned another great summary of the action:
“Reserves; Two in a Row on the Road”
Coming off a big a win the previous week, the SKOBS Reserves arrived at the University Oval brimming with confidence. And although finding the oval or a carpark was a challenge for the players and spectators, Melbourne Uni had quite the picturesque backdrop of the city.
Liam Gunson opened up the scoring, getting the lads off to a great start. However, a few early injuries dampened the game, with Lucas Mascia and Jack Byrne taking an unfortunate early exit. The Reserves played through the corridor with fantastic ball movement, coast to coast, setting up plenty of score involvements from Vladimir Stevancevic and William Cooper as they took away the game from Melbourne Uni Blues, kicking 5 goals to 1 at quarter time.
Rolling into the second and third quarters turned scrappy as the match levelled out with plenty of slip and slides. But the Melbourne Uni Blues challenged the boys to the ball and matched the intensity of Luke Mazzeo, who seemed to have the ball on a string.
Uni Blues came out swinging in the final term, reducing the lead substantially. Despite their best efforts, Thomas Andriske took an absolute hanger in the final moments to put the nail in the coffin. Ultimately, the lead generated in the first quarter put the result beyond doubt, with 27 point victory. The Reserves make it two in a row on the road.
Best for Coach Clough was Ethan Beer, Liam Gunson, Christian Woolrich, Zach Ginies and Jack Andriske
For the Academy, ten scoring shots and 4.6 to zero in the third term set up an 11 point win over Old Brighton at the Beach. It was their second trip to the seaside already in season 2023, but Coach Ollie and the Krusher's boys were able to come away with the precious points once again from a venue that is tough to win at. Matt Canning, Liam O'Neill, Max Uzunovski, Alex Dietze, Andy Smale and James Cooper all starred for the Academy. They face OMs after the break and then Old Xavs before the European summer takes its toll on numbers going forward. Things are about to get interesting.
No Rigrets at Old Rigret as Premier's streak continues
SKOB have opened up a two game cushion on the competition as we near the half way mark of the season. Having lost in the opening round, the young SKOB Premier team have gone on an unbeaten 8 game streak and they are well placed ahead of a chasing pack with some very talented teams behind them. On Saturday they welcomed St Bedes to Righetti. They had to come from behind at half time as the Beders took it right up to them, but SKOB were able to keep StBedes scoreless in the last quarter and record a solid win. Once again Cooper Chaffey played a great game and was well supported by the likes of Henry James, Pat Carracher, Tom Feehan, Oli Gill and Dan Gambell.
In Div2 the SKOB 19 twos also defeated StBedes - this time away - to keep in touch with the top four after a recent run of outs. Jack "Lucky" Luscombe booted 6 in a match winning performance while Tom Davidson, Connor Joyce, Angus Kerr, Ben Ball and Jeremy Bourke were all good for the winners who get their season back on track just before the break.
It was nearly a clean sweep for our under 19s, but alas the Div 4 guys just lost to Old Xavs at Old Rigret. The game seemed gone at 3/4 time but SKOB booted five goals in the last quarter to show great determination and pluck right to the end. Unfortunately it wasn't quite enough, although not for lack of effort, particularly by Ed Harmon, Ben Mahony, Joey Kerr, Justin Willmott, Tom Whelan and Noah Pearce.
Whilst the weather was never likely to top the glorious sunshine of last year's event, the rain still mostly stayed away and the sunshine was to be found on the faces of all who attended at TH King for Pride Round. Congrats to all involved in organising this event.