Zebra's strike gold in Ballarat
Senior Squad Report
By Tom Anderson
Sandringham were able to start the game as they would have hoped with the first of 6 first quarter goals coming in the first minute of the game through Lewis Pierce. North Ballarat were able to a quick response before Sandringham were able to respond with the next 5 goals and get on top of North Ballarat all over the ground. Sandringham's forward pressure was at its best which covered the poor skills at times. The pressure directly resulted in Rowan Marshall and Corey Rich kicking goals whilst Josh Fox continues to grow as a player with two strong marks followed by straight set shots. Josh Battle was able to get on the scorer's sheet in the first quarter as well with a goal on the siren to give Sandringham a 31 point quarter time lead.
After such a good first quarter, the second quarter was far from Sandringham's best. North Ballarat were able to kick the first goal of the quarter after Sandringham missed 10 tackles in a row. For the supporters at the game, they would need to wait until late in the quarter to see another goal in what was a very scrappy quarter. North Ballarat were on top most of the quarter but were unable to really impact the scoreboard to Sandringham's delight. A mountain of turnovers from both teams made for ugly watching but to both teams credit, the tenacity around the ball was outstanding. Ed Phillips and Nick O'Kearney enjoyed fantastic first halves as they both showed their full potential and that they were the standout players on the ground.
Just as the second quarter started, North Ballarat were able to kick the first goal of the quarter to cut the margin back to 12 points and send a scare through the Sandringham camp. To Sandringham's credit they were able to kick their first goal since quarter time shortly after through Ray Connellan to extend the margin out to 19 points. The goal gave Sandringham some confidence and were able to kick another 2 goals in the next 5 minutes through Rowan Marshall to get the margin out to a comfortable 32 points. With confidence behind, Sandringham were able to stay on top for the remainder of the quarter and were unlucky to not score more goals. Two missed opportunities from Luke Batten and Josh Fox were disappointing but Nick O'Kearney was able to kick a goal late in the quarter to add to his impressive game and extend the margin at the final break to 39 points.
Taking the scoring momentum into the final quarter, Daniel McKenzie was able to score a goal from a quick clearance to put the margin out to 46 points. With Sandringham starting to run away with the game, they started playing with a bit more confidence and freedom. With this, Jason Holmes was able to cause a midfield turnover with a Nick O'Kearney goal a result of his hard work. Josh Battle and Rowan Marshall set shot conversions and after good ball movement soon followed to put the margin out to 64 points. To top off the day, Josh Fox kicked his third in another impressive game for the club. Two late goals to North Ballarat made the final margin 55 points.
For the day, Ed Phillips played his best game for the year. He was damaging by foot and continued to rack up the disposals. Nick O'Kearney was good as always whilst Rowan Marshall showed he is a star of the future. Josh Fox showed that he can play at this level with another impressive display today.
Next week their will be a season in review report which will contain summaries of each of the games along with the highs and lows of the season.
Goal Kickers: Rowan Marshall 4, Josh Fox 3, Josh Battle 2, Nick O'Kearney 2, Corey Rich, Daniel McKenzie, Ray Connellan, Lewis Pierce
Best Players: Ed Phillips, Nick O'Kearney, Rowan Marshall, Ray Connellan, Dylan Weickhardt, Josh Fox
Disposals: Nick O'Kearney 34, Ed Phillips 31, Rowan Marshall 24.