Premier B: SKOB put paid to years of heartbreak, as OMs claim bay

Posted on - Latest News, Premier B Men's, Featured, Finals

By David Chalmers – @DAChalmers81

And then there were three. After ten seasons in Premier B, St Kevin’s has finally triumphed in September, with a hard-fought 16-point victory over St Bedes/Mentone in their semi-final. The win puts the SKOBs straight through to the Grand Final and means automatic promotion to William Buck Premier in 2016. The Tigers meet Old Melburnians in the Preliminary Final, after the OMs beat Old Brighton by six goals.

St Kevins 13.7 (85) defeated St Bedes/Mentone 10.9 (69)
I had family commitments on Saturday but was able to view the finals thanks to VAFA TV and commentary from the lads at 96.5 Inner FM. The SKOBs-Tigers final was an epic, and was a contest well worthy of the top two teams of the home and away season. The Tigers started the match better, and it was clear that the all-conquering ladder leaders would not be having it all their own way. The SKOBs defence was under siege early, and after eight minutes the Tigers had two goals on the board via Chris Richards and Tim Doherty, the latter making the most of a Jordan Gysberts’ error in defence. The bigger bodies of the St Kevin’s machine slowly worked their way back into the match by playing in front and quick ball movement. They kicked five unanswered goals in the space of 15 minutes through contributions from Gilham, Gerard Gleeson, Dowd, Meehan and Phil Edgar. Mitchell Coen kicked a late goal for the Tigers and they trailed by 13 points at the first change.

Ben Dowd got the SKOBs off to a positive start in the second quarter with an immediate centre clearance but Gilham couldn’t finish the job. The two teams went goal for goal in an entertaining contest, and the pressure caused uncharacteristic turnovers on both sides. Tiger Dan Garside showed dash off half back, but was not rewarded as one of the Tyquin boys was tackled and penalised after taking too long trying to get onto the left foot. SKOB defender Kelvin Williams cost his side a goal when he took a risk going down the middle of the ground and it went straight back over his head to Tiger spearhead Luke Velluto, who kicked four for the day. Velluto was the beneficiary of some great Tiger midfield work from Kane, Doherty, O’Toole, Tom Tyquin and the Richards boys. Zach Ginies kicked two in the quarter for SKOBs who narrowly stretched their half time lead to 17 points.

The third quarter was another engrossing contest. The first two Tigers goals came through uncharacteristic St Kevin’s errors. A misdirected tap from a stoppage led to an impressive chain of passes through the midfield and Mitchell Coen finished off for the first goal after five minutes of play. Gilham replied for the SKOBs, then a Ben Sullivan error followed by a lightning quick Tiger transition finished with a Luke Velluto mark and goal. SKOB big man Gerard Gleeson kicked his third and Velluto replied. SKOB leader Plugger Lynch kicked the first behind of the quarter and this led to possibly the Premier B goal of the season. Two kicks from end to end. The kick-in was long and straight, and Chris Richards marked it in the middle of the ground. He played on quickly and launched the kick from just inside the centre circle. The ball bounced into a vacant goal square and through the uprights. The goal brought the margin back to seven points before Phil Edgar kicked a goal on the siren to give the SKOBs some breathing space going into the last quarter.
The Tigers had their chances in the final term, but started with four behinds. When Michael Barnes kicked the first goal for the quarter at the 13 minute mark, the Tigers were within five points and it was game on! Unfortunately they couldn’t bridge the gap. Scoring dried up and Jason Salopek and Plugger Lynch added goals for the SKOBs to ensure a 16 point win.

Old Melburnians 14.6 (90) defeated Old Brighton 7.12 (54)
In the other semi-final Old Melburnians and Old Brighton were playing for their season and the right to challenge St Bedes/Mentone for a place in the Grand Final. Tom Paule took advantage of great ruckwork from Patrick Garschagen to snap the first for the OMs and then it was goal-for-goal during the next few minutes. A late goal to the Tonners gave them a narrow lead at quarter time.
A bad defensive error from Lewis Haralambous allowed Tonner Tom Mariani to kick the first for the quarter before Alex Armstrong kicked the first of his six goals for the day for the OMs. Dylan Verney had a chance to reply for the Tonners but was put off by good defensive pressure. The OMs proceeded to kick three goals in five minutes to Armstrong and Cameron Beck before a brilliant smother and centring ball from Levi Otto gifted Tonners spearhead Dan Anthony his only goal for the day. The OMs kicked one more before half time and took a ten point lead into the main break.
The Tonners immediately forced the ball forward and Michael Slater goaled after being pushed in the back. They had their chances but the Slater goal proved to be their only goal for the quarter as the OMs added four of their own to stretch the lead to 25 points at three-quarter time.
Things didn’t get any better for the Tonners in the last. The OMs kicked three more, including two from Beck before the Tonners snatched a consolation goal at the 20 minute mark. When the siren sounded, the Tonners season had ended with a six goal defeat, while the Old Melburnians live to fight another day, facing St Bedes/Mentone in the preliminary final.

Preliminary Final: St Bedes/Mentone (2nd, 14-4) v Old Melburnians (3rd, 12-6)
Things are sticking to the script, with the top three teams making it through to the final three places. The Preliminary final promises to be another fantastic contest. The Tigers’ loss to St Kevins brought their seven game winning streak to an end but they were very impressive, particularly through the midfield. Old Melburnians second half against Old Brighton was workmanlike, restricting the Tonners opportunities while creating plenty of their own. The season series is tied at 1-1. The OMs led all day and hung on for a one-point win in Round 5. They met again in Round 14 and the OMs led at three quarter time before the Tigers unleashed a seven goal to one final term to win by five goals. I am picking St Bedes/Mentone to win.

St Bede’s Mentone v Old Melburnians