DIABOLICAL conditions at the Collie oval on Sunday conspired to help defeat the seriously undermanned Augusta-Margaret River Football Club’s League and Reserves teams.
Heavy rain overnight and throughout the morning had left pools of standing water on one half of the oval, and the Colts and Reserves games had turned the surface into a quagmire through the centre by the time the League game got underway in cold but dry conditions.
However, when the heavens opened part way through the second quarter and continued for the second half, the game became a miserable scramble for the Hawks against the Collie Eagles, with neither side able to fly high.
There were some wonderfully defiant individual efforts by the likes of Mark Anderson, Patrick Fox and Ben Earl for the Reserves and Jeremy Humm, Cody Miller, Vaughn Colyer and Nick Derickx for the League team, but in those heavy conditions with a ball as slippery as soap they were too few.
Calvin Squires deserved special mention. He was one of the Hawks’ best in the Reserves game, then he and two other Reserves, Anderson and Daen Burnett went straight back out for the League team, with Anderson and Squires on the ground from the first bounce.
Squires tried hard and featured in plenty of play in the League game but understandably slowed up in the second half.
The Hawks’ league team remains in seventh position on the South West Football League ladder and must rely on Bunbury and Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault above it to lose their last four home-and–away games while it has to win all to have any chance of slipping into the top five.
The Hawks’ Reserves swapped places with South Bunbury and slipped to ninth ladder position, with three wins from 14 games and just a win clear of Donnybrook on the bottom.
However, the Hawks’ Colts remain a chance to make the finals. The Hawks held on for a two-point victory and remain sixth on the ladder, equal with Collie on eight wins so far, but well behind on percentage.
On Sunday the Hawks host Harvey Bulls at Gloucester Park, with the League game starting at 2.30pm, the Reserves at 12.20 and Colts at 10.15am.
With the wind behind them the Hawks started strongly and when Jeremy Humm, running well up the ground, kicked a goal and answered the Eagles’ opening score, it looked like game on.
However, the conditions made clean handling of the ball difficult and further forays forward by both sides resulted in behinds rushed through or from hurried kicks.
The Hawks finished the quarter a point up, 1.3 to 1.2.
A heavy downpour part way through the second quarter appeared to dampen the Hawks’ fire and the Eagles’ small men capitalised on their slippery home ground knowledge and term with the wind.
Playing his 100th game at full back for the Hawks, Mitch Gerrans was kept busy kicking in as Collie added 3.6 while keeping the Hawks scoreless in the quarter to go into the long break 4.8 to 1.3.
The third quarter was a mud scramble between half-back lines until Cody Miller marked at half forward flank and kicked accurately, but that was to be it for Hawks’ scoring shots.
The Hawks kept the Eagles scoreless in the third quarter but could not peg back the margin sufficiently in the conditions, with scores 4.12 to 2.5 going into the final term.
The Eagles had their best quarter as the Hawks tired, and peppered the goals for 4.5 and a comfortable win.
Final scores: Collie Eagles 8.17 (65) d Augusta-Margaret River Hawks 2.5 (17).
Goals: Collie Eagles: D Cowan 4, A Bignall, S Cox, C Taylor, B Whelhan. Margaret River: J Humm, C Miller.
Best: Collie: D Cowan, P Lindsay, J martin, J Thurston, W Cleggett. Margaret River: J Humm, C Miller, V Colyer, M Gerrans, B Gerrans, N Derickx.
Despite a team supplemented by the return of at least one former player to make up the numbers, the Hawks surprised the Eagles and were well in the game, trailing by only three points 1.3 to 1.0 at quarter time and in front 1.3 to 2.0 at half time.
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However, a scoreless third quarter and only a point added in the final term by the Hawks allowed the Eagles to get away.
Finals scores: Collie Eagles 5.5 (35) d Augusta-Margaret River Hawks 2.1 (13).
Goals: Collie Eagles: A King 2, M Tanner, D Decampo, M Jackson. Margaret River Hawks: G Garstone, B Nairn.
Best: Collie Eagles: A King, W Atwell, B Strike, M Cain, J Ugle. Margaret River Hawks: M Anderson, B Earl, P Fox, J Hughes, C Squire, C McLean.
Another low-scoring game because of the conditions, but the Hawks were in front at the end of the first quarter and stayed there.
Although the young Hawks did not score in the final term, they were able to hold the Eagles to just one point for the term, proving just how difficult the conditions were.
Final scores: Augusta-Margaret River Hawks 4.3 (27) d Collie Eagles 3.7 (25)
Goals: Collie Eagles: B Wright, D King, K Shanahan. Margaret River Hawks: J Marsh 4.
Best: Collie Eagles: J Swallow, B Wallam, P Rinder, L Pike, B Wright. Margaret River Hawks: L Bourke, M Murphy, B Morgan, C Read, J Marsh, W Young.