Blacks spin a win as Pitt rises from the mud

After a final week of Olympics-gazing, your narrator was thoroughly looking forward to his Saturday ritual of following the Black and Blue (and black shorts and socks) across Melbourne. As I began my journey, I began to consider all of the venues I’ve visited and the feelings that each of them elicit.  
It is interesting to ponder how one of the most feared away venues in the VAFA can also be one of the most welcoming. For a player, an away match in Beaumaris is always one of the biggest challenges of the season. For a spectator, however, there are many pleasures. First there is the serene drive down Beach Rd, the welcoming fireplace within the club rooms, the espresso machine in the canteen, the cold tap beer behind the bar and finally a family atmosphere that belies the ruthlessness of the home team. Such a contrast. Not that our Blacker Boys aren’t capable of the odd juxtaposition mind you. This is a club that can provide you with sound legal advice by day and strut around with a dead shark on their shoulders by night, (We love ya Jack).
Having come off a series of comfortable wins, it is fair to say that our 11:40ers were not up to speed in the opening moments of their match. It’s probably also fair to say that in terms of defensive pressure, they were closer to Bryant/Mrs Bryant distance rather than Bryant/Rice distance away from their opponents. The Blacks were fortunate to be in front at quarter time as Beaumaris seemed to have more options than the producers of ‘Olympics Events You Didn’t See on Nine’
In the second quarter, the Blacks lifted all over the ground but were unable to convert their opportunities. The scores for the quarter read 2.6 to 0.1 in favour of the Blacks and some of the misses were embarrassing enough to turn faces the same colour of the fare at the nearby Lobster Cave. Regardless, the Blacks had seized the upper hand and looked likely to run away with the game.
After half time, the game turned again. With a noticeable emphasis placed on moving the ball quickly, The Sharks launched a comeback that was more genuine than anything that James Brayshaw would try and conjure for an Aussie rower languishing in the minor placings. After keeping our boys goalless in the 3rd quarter, and then kicking the first goal of the last, the home side looked set to storm to a victory. Fortunately for the away fans, however, The Blacks were able to compose themselves and kick the final 5 goals to win the game.
One factor that kept the Blacks in the game was the desperation of the backline. Time and time again, players Hunt, Torney and MacGugan threw caution to wind and hygiene out the window to dive on the loose ball at any opportunity. Let’s not forget young Holt either. Although he could’ve been nervous applying his trade at a seaside venue, he kept his head above water and continually bobbed up in the Blacks forward line.
Uni Blacks
Goal Kickers
Crameri 3, Else 2, Cook 2, Jesse, Heeley, Woods
Best Players
Myers, Gardiner, Holt, Hunt, Torney, MacGugan
With The Sharks having defeated our boys by 2 points at the Uni earlier in the season, this game was one that all Blacks supporters had been looking forward to for a while. Although the seniors were victorious by over 20 goals last week, the team was keen to take on a finals contender, and there aren’t many tougher trips in the VAFA than down to Shark Park. In fact, the only one that could possibly be tougher would be the drive home with Jordie Foster after he’s either kicked a bag or had a win on the nags (If he’s done both, you’re better off walking).
If one of the many Banksia Reserve dog walkers were to watch more than a couple of minutes of the opening half, it would’ve been clear to them that they were seeing a 1st v 3rd contest. Both sides moved the ball swiftly, and though the centre wicket area was probably appealing only to Charlotte Web’s Wilbur (or Tommy Napier), the rest of the oval was in good condition and allowed for a high standard of football
Just before half-time, our curly, bouncing dynamo Charlie Richardson seized control of the ball and set off on one of his customary runs through the middle. Unfortunately, Chuckles didn’t find the muddy wicket area too appealing. Now, although a certain fair-haired larrikin from the nearby Black Rock was adept at sharp turns out in the middle, our man took it a bit too far and set off towards the square leg boundary. After a couple of bounces, his opponent’s efforts were rewarded and, playing the role of the kid with the camera, caught Richo with his pants down (pretty much). Fortunately for the Blacks, the Warnie parellels didn’t end there as our man was able to quickly get up, dust himself off and jet away to create more havoc.
With Beaumaris keen to atone for their 2nd quarter effort, the 3rd stanza was a fierce affair. Players from both sides threw themselves at the ball and on more than one occasion the crowd in front of the social club viciously applauded the efforts from both teams. Whether this bipartisanship was a result of an Olympics feel-good factor or whether it was just a group of footy fans brought together by the confusion of the deliberate out-of-bounds rule is unclear, but it warmed the heart of this crusty cynic.
The last quarter was a dour struggle, with a light rain covering the ground and The Blacks not willing to give up any part of their lead. Whilst it is not customary for your columnist to leave the game early, I was hoping to beat the traffic and possibly catch the last beads of sun over the bay. As I was pulling out from my boundary-side car park, however, I sensed the need to switch on my headlights to navigate an eerie darkness. Puzzled, I looked up into the windscreen and noticed a shadow looming large across the ground. Having then spotted something in the corner of my eye, I turned sharply and allowed my pupils to reveal the sight of Adam Pitt genuflecting on the shoulder of his (or possibly someone else’s) opponent. With a leap that could send Tom Hawkins to the Ford factory (with Steve Hooker acting as his union rep) the Pitt Monster took a dreary last quarter and turned it into his own personal stage. The take-off was solid, the catch was clear, and he landed on his feet. No way he could get the gold though. No one who gets that high could possibly be clean.
Uni Blacks
Goal Kickers
Foster 3, Willingham 2, Lacey 2, Flight, Slabbert, Costello, Roberts, Roder, Weekley
Best Players
Lahy, Foster, Delahunty, Weekley, Mill, Pitt

About The Black Hack

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