The Thrilling ‘Fields

by Shane Goss

Old Ivanhoe and Caulfield Grammarians played out a thriller in round seven of the VAFA Premier B section last Saturday at Chelsworth Park in Ivanhoe. It was first against third. The Fields had been promoted from Premier C the year before and were going into the game undefeated. Old Ivanhoe had only lost the two games to date and were confident of inflicting the Field’s first loss of the season.

The scenic ground hidden away in one of Melbourne’s affluent inner suburbs was in good nick; the weather conditions were near perfect for football: Overcast with a slight chance of rain and little wind.Caulfield Grammarians shot out of the blocks and piled on seven goals straight to Old Ivanhoe’s two by quarter-time. The Hoer’s had been making a habit of starting slowly of late and were staring down the barrel again.

Coach Craig Hunter had pulled a surprise early by lining up spearhead Owen Weatherly at centre-half-back in an obvious attempt to disrupt the Field’s structures. Weatherly had already booted 28 majors in the preceeding six rounds and is as important to the Hoer’s as Simon was to Garfunkel. But turnovers proved costly for the home team and at the first change the Fields led 7.0.42 to 2.4.16.

Old Ivanhoe’s huddle could have been excused for running in all directions and hiding behind trees. Surely they were prepared for a spray? A calm Hunter addressed the players in the knowledge that they weren’t going that bad. He emphasised to them to stick to their game plan and not to wander from it; to use the ball more efficiently and make the most of their opportunities.

When play resumed the Hoer’s lifted their workrate and although their ventures into the forward line hadn’t been rare in the first term, they managed to make more of their opportunities in the second. Caulfield Grammarians coach and former St.Kilda hard-nut Stevie Lawrence went from pleased as punch to an angry man as he watched his charges surrender a 26 point lead.

Old Ivanhoe’s Sam Geilings and Luke Lochran were finding plenty of the pill through the midfield and Stuart Low was beginning to have an influence around the packs. Weatherly had been moved back to the forward line after Hunter and co had agreed that their pre-game ploy had worn off on the Fields.

Chris Branigan was providing handy whether up forward or in the ruck as the Hoers mounted their comeback, much to the delight of their fans on the terrace, awaiting quite possibly amateur football’s best half-time supper inside. As the sausage rolls and assorted cakes were spread across the function room table, Old Ivanhoe’s forwards were spreading themselves around the forward fifty and producing sausage rolls of their own in the six point variety.

They snagged six goals whilst holding Caulfield Grammarians goaless. At half-time it was Ivanhoe 8.5.53 to Caulfield Grammarians 7.3.45.

As fans from both sides made tracks for the afternoon tea the two teams adjourned to the sheds for oranges and water-cordial. I felt privileged as i tucked into some cup-cakes and home-made orange cake washed down with a well timed cup of tea.

Midway through the third quarter i was still dusting crumbs off my chest. Crumbing on the field however was rare, as the goals dried up. It had become a battle of the defences. it had also become a battle of the coach with the loudest voice as Hunter and Lawrence bellowed instructions from their posts.

Matthew Scarlett look-a-like Justin Perkins was a handful for Old Ivanhoe all over the ground. He was in the thick of it around the midfield and handy close to goals. Daniel Pelchen and Louis O’Keefe were on top and Nick Edwards was a difficult match-up for Old Ivanhoe.

The Hoers lost lead-up forward Trevor Cotsworth in the third term to a knee injury and although Branigan was giving a good account of himself in the air up forward, the Hoers found it difficult to capatilise on their fine second quarter. Two goals to one in favour of the Fields didn’t exactly have the scoreboard attendant catching his breadth at three-quarter-time but it was close. Either side were a chance.

Down back for Old Ivanhoe Jarred Geischen, son of AFL umpires boss Jeff, was playing a strong game and was well supported by Tyson Harrison. Both sides wasted opportunities in-front of goal with the Field’s Chris Hammond (2 goals 6 behinds) and Dean Scheetz (5 behinds) and the Hoer’s Lochran (1 goal six behinds) and Geilings (5 behinds) the worst offenders.

As the shadows stretched over Chelsworth Park late into the final quarter the game was still up for grabs as neither team could gain the ascendancy and a much needed break. When Perkins snapped truly for the Field’s in time-on it looked like game over. But as they did in the second term Old Ivanhoe dug deep.

A free kick was awarded to Branigan at centre-half-forward for the Hoers. As he went back for his kick the siren sounded with Caulfield Grammarians three points in front. He missed the goal. Jubilation for the away team. It was a day of missed opportunities that would prove more costly for Old Ivanhoe while Caulfield Grammarians remain undefeated.

Final Scores: Old Ivanhoe 11.12.78 to CG 12.8.80
Goal kickers- Old Ivanhoe: Weatherly 4,C.Branigan 2, Lochran, Del Monte, Butler, Greer, Baldwin 1.
Caulfield Grammarians: B.Sinclair 3, Perkins, Hammond and C.Williams 2, T.O’Sullivan, Garrubba, L.Price 1.

Best- Old Ivanhoe: Branigan, Gieschen, Harrison, Low, Geilings and Lochran.

Caulfield Grammarians: O’Keefe, Pelchen, O’Sullivan, Perkins, Scheetz, Hammond.


  1. johnharms says

    That has to be Scarlo in 1998?

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