HEATHCOTE’S under 12 football team has one more chance to make it into the Bendigo Junior Football League grand final after suffering its first loss of the season in the second semi-final on Sunday.
The Junior Saints headed to neutral ground at North Bendigo to take on rivals Quarry Hill.
Stakes were high for both teams with the winner earning a grand final spot and a two-week break, the losing team going straight to the preliminary final against Kyneton.
Extreme wind, icy conditions and threatening rain didn’t deter the Saints as they took control from the first bounce with Taylor Maiden rucking well.
The ball was quickly fired to the Saints forward where a lot of pushing and shoving ensued Thomas Johnson pounced to score a minor.
The team capitalised on Quarry Hills poor kick outs soon after with Brayden Ferguson slotting home a nice set shot kicking into the wind.
Seth Creevey, Kody Johnson and Callum Devine stood their ground in the backline, combining well to only concede one goal despite the Demons onslaught.
Desperate for the next goal in the second quarter, both teams switched constantly between offence and defence up and down the centre corridor before Fergo booted long and high to Taylor who plucked it mid-air to play on and kick true for the Saints.
Damon Ryan-May had his running legs on full speed soon after, putting the ball up high for Oliver ‘Plugga’ Ayres to take another great mark in front of goal.
The goal to Ayres had the team and crowd elated before the half time break.
To Quarry Hill’s credit, they did not give up managing to narrow the gap in the third quarter, Heathcote’s Lexi Jorgensen-Neave, Ami-May Burgess, Jesse Bruce and tackle master Jimmy Pringle all displaying courage and determination to keep possession and push forward.
Harrison Ferguson produced some magic soon after, kicking a wobbler from 30 metres that somehow avoided eight players and bounced through the big sticks.
Heavy tagging and injuries took its toll on the Saints in the final quarter. The Maiden siblings — Blake, Brooke and Taylor — and Hannah Coleman, Nik Hansson, Tanika Cook, and Ryan Foster were all in action but the Saints were unable to capitalise kicking into the wind and beat the Demons on the day.
The final score saw Heathcote 4.8 (32) to Quarry Hill 7.3 (45).
Next week will see the Saints take on Kyneton in a must win to secure a spot in the grand final.
Goals: Brayden Ferguson, Taylor Maiden, Oliver Ayres, Harrison Ferguson.
Country Kitchen Award – Lexi Jorgensen-Neave
Jaime Johnson Plumbing Award – Ami-May Burgess
Coach Award – Taylor Devine
Football Award – Hannah Coleman
■ Last week, on Wednesday, August 30, a selected few from the Heathcote Junior Football Club were invited to Bendigo Junior Football League’s Best and Fairest Vote Count.
Heathcote had a good number of players with points in these votes and two lucky ones managed to score quite well.
Congratulations to Bradyn Ferguson for scoring 30 points and finishing equal first on the leader board, and further congratulations to Thomas Johnson who came in fourth with 19 points.
A special mention to James Pringle, Tanika Cook, Hannah Coleman, Blake Maiden, Harrison Ferguson and Ryan Foster who all managed to score in these votes.
The Best and Fairest votes are compiled during each game played throughout the season and are decided by the field umpires in a three-vote system.
Congratulations to everyones effort’s this season.