Maryborough put in an inspired performance to win its third match of the Bendigo Football League season with a barnstorming last quarter to set up a 29 point victory over Castlemaine at the Camp Reserve on Saturday.
Prior to the match everything pointed to a home town victory as the ’Maine had defeated Gisborne, Strathfieldsaye and Kyneton in their last three games, while Maryborough had just two wins for the season, against Castlemaine earlier in the season and also the cellar dweller Kyneton.
The ’Borough made a number of changes to the team which was beaten by Gisborne last weekend with Adam Hurse and Dylan Clarkson both back from injury while Michael Jennings and Sam McDowell were out injured.
A bonus for Maryborough before the side got on to the ground was that Castlemaine was missing big man Steven Oliver.
The game began under threatening skies with rain in the air.
Castlemaine kicked to the clubhouse end of the Camp and first goal of the day was booted by former Maryborough player Scott Sellers, from a long way out.
The home side had started well and were finding teammates while Maryborough was really struggling early and was a little fortunate that the ’Maine forwards, Daniel Christmas and Jason Cordy, were off target.
The ’Borough’s first goal of the day came from Wayne Tucker who had marked well out but was then knocked over and received a 50 metre penalty and he converted on the scoreboard.
Castlemaine youngster, 17-yearold Zach Hansford, booted the reply after a free kick and then Ben Rose got another and it was 3.2 (20) to one straight major.
Clarkson was on target for the ’Borough but Jason Cordy replied and then Matt Brown was on the end of some good teamwork further down the ground and he booted his first six pointer of the day and at the first break Castlemaine was leading 4.2 (26) to 3.1 (19).
Although there was just seven points the difference, the host club had outplayed Maryborough but hadn’t hurt the opposition on the scoreboard.
The second term was an arm wrestle early with neither side able to score for the first 10 to 15 minutes.
Clarkson narrowed the gap to just a point when he ran on to the loose footy and then Cam Rinaldi put the visitors in front when he goaled and it was game on in the wet conditions.
Brett Cole goaled after a free kick downfield but Rinaldi took a great grab in the square as the lead was changed again.
A poor kick in defence allowed Hansford another goal as the seesawing contest continued and then James O’Brien got another for the ’Maine.
A late major by Liam “Irish” McIntosh had the visitors trailing 7.3 to 7.6 but this was a good effort by Maryborough and hopes were high for a big second half.
The home team had the scoring end in the third term but it was Brown who put the ’Borough back in front early.
The defence of Maryborough was exceptional in this quarter and kept the opposition goalless and when Brown booted the only other major, it was the visitors leading at three quarter time, 9.6 (60) to 7.11 (53).
Belcher gave the ’Borough a little breathing space with a sensational left foot snap but the immediate reply came from Christmas.
The rain returned but the crowd hadn’t left as it was an eight point ball game with the result in the balance.
The busy Hansford kicked his third major for the afternoon and Castlemaine was just three points behind in a thriller.
After good play by Clarkson, Brown snapped truly over his head for his fourth major and Maryborough was up by 10 points.
The forwards for the ’Borough snapped from one side to the other until Clarkson was able to mark and goal and a 16 point lead was established.
However, the ’Maine wasn’t quite finished as Cole goaled from a free kick at the 22 minute mark of the final term.
Late goals to Dell from a long way out, Matt Bilton on his wrong side and Clarkson, had the ’Borough winning running away 15.10 (100) to 10.11 (71).
This was a real team victory with all players putting in but there were four outstanding performers for the visiting combination.
Luke Bucknall, Lachie Edwards, Bilton and Dell were tremendous all afternoon and each of these players put their bodies on the line for the club and at final siren were spent.
The defence was also terrific with all players contributing. Belcher kept Culpitt out of the contest, Hurse nullified Christmas, Malone did a job on Sellers, Fisher kept Cordy quiet while Clarkson and Brown up forward, kicked four goals apiece.
Other Maryborough majors came from Rinaldi two, the busy Tucker, McIntosh, Belcher, Dell and Bilton.
Fisher was rapt with his charges and said that the spirit shown by the team was sensational.
On this form, look out Eaglehawk this weekend at Princes Park.