Fear and trepidation were evident in the eyes of the Batemans Bay men’s all age football team when they lined up to take on the mighty Moruya Blues at Hanging Rock on Sunday.
FEAR and trepidation were evident in the eyes of the Batemans Bay men’s all age football team when they lined up to take on the mighty Moruya Blues at Hanging Rock on Sunday.
With the Blues in such a rich vein of form late in the season the Batemans Bay men knew that they would need to play peerless football to be competitive.
Again it was the seamless and cohesive manner in which the Blues played the game which delighted their many fans.
Eschewing the orthodoxy of possession football the Blues again opted for the far more entertaining and carefree style coach David Saines has insisted on throughout this season.
Dave Salter bravely elected to have a turn at keeping rather than scoring goals this week and the Blues defence must have seemed at times impenetrable to the Bay forwards.
Indeed the score was locked at nil-all for what seemed an eternity, though perhaps only five minutes according to the referee, before disaster struck.
Defending against a Bay corner the Moruya goal appeared to be safe until Salter’s reflexes proved too sharp even for one of his own defenders.
In a cruel twist, despite Moruya having scored, the goal was awarded to the Bay.
In a rare family outing Salter’s son also started.
Obviously savouring the opportunity to play with a team of seasoned players eager to pass on their skills and wisdom, the younger Salter ran with speed and enthusiasm.
Several of the Blues relished the opportunity to provide him with many long, surely incisive, passes.
It was a calamity for the Salter family and the Blues when he was dismissed by the referee after offering his opinions in a manner deemed too forthright.
Amazingly, despite the send-off, the Blues maintained their intensity and game plan.
Cleverly goading the Bay into scoring again the Blues were able to implement one of their planned set pieces.
Direct from the kick-off Darren Lynch launched a precisely aimed missile-like shot – bouncing once on the pristine turf it looked a certain goal before the startled Bay keeper managed to tip it away.
Many pundits expected Carl Whiffen to come closer shortly afterwards, had Mark Ethel passed him the ball.
In what is fast becoming a habit for the Blues, they again waited until late to unleash something truly special, bringing the fans to their feet.
With the game poised on a knife edge, they launched forward another of their ferocious attacks.
The ball passed through, or at least by, every player in a frankly bewildering series of passes, and it finally landed at Lynch’s feet, unusually positioned in the opposition 18-yard box.
Surprised by his good fortune, but determined to make the most of the occasion Lynch charged toward goal.
With a dramatic performance rarely seen this far from Broadway, Lynch fell to the ground, possibly surrounded by several defenders, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
As Lynch placed the ball and walked back to consider his options, the entire Catalina district fell deathly silent, with the tension physically palpable as he stood waiting for referee to give the nod.
No team mate bothered with the futility of offering advice now – knowing that thinking too much could damage him.
Their best chance was for Lynch to take the most tried and tested of options - and he did.
Running wildly towards the ball he gave in to pure instinct, with eyes closed, he swung mightily with his right foot sending the ball on a blistering arc past the desperate gloves of the keeper and into the back of the net.
Celebrations were delirious, but short-lived as Moruya, playing with the confidence that only goals can bring, pressed for an equaliser (or six).
Batemans Bay was a worthy winner, 7-1.