PREMIERSHIP HEROES:

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - PHOTO: Jamie Pronk

Beech­worth’s tri­umphant un­der 14 team last Satur­day won the 2017 Tal­lan­gatta and District Foot­ball Net­ball League premiership – de­feat­ing Thur­goona 5.4 (34) to 3.3 (21) in ex­tra time at Sandy Creek oval. The premiership is the first for Beech­worth Foot­ball Net­ball Club since 2010 and the first for the U14s since 2008. In a year that for the rest of the Bushrangers was a long one, the U14s be­came the shin­ing light for play­ers, the club, the team’s many sup­port­ers and the Beech­worth com­mu­nity.

IT couldn’t have been any closer at the fin­ish.

But Beech­worth un­der 14s have won the un­der 14 Tal­lan­gatta and District Foot­ball Net­ball League premiership for 2017.

In the last mo­ments of the game an Adam Walker shot on goal fell short and Thur­goona quickly punched the ball away from any Beech­worth hands inside a dan­ger­ous Bushranger for­ward line.

The ball hit the post and be­fore it had re­turned to the ground the siren sounded and the game was deemed a draw.

That last point saved Beech­worth, with the Bushrangers then able to fight out an­other two five-minute halves to de­ter­mine the win­ner.

It was in those last 10 min­utes of play that Beech­worth was able to lift their stan­dard of play and skip out to a 13-poiont win – with the fi­nal score 5.4 (34) to 3.3 (21).

“The boys knew that they hadn’t played well all game,” Beech­worth coach Bill McLaugh­lin said.

“They weren’t as clean over the ball like they nor­mally are and that was be- cause of the pres­sure that Thur­goona were ap­ply­ing to us.

“I knew as soon as we switched on that we would win, it took us un­til ex­tra time to do it.

“But they never gave up, they moved the ball for­ward as much as they could; you could never ques­tion their en­deav­our; it is a great feel­ing.

“That was the best 10 min­utes of foot­ball we have played at the end of the nor­mal game, we saved our best for last.”

Harry Guthrie was awarded the best on ground medal for his role dur­ing the game.

“He played on Thur­goona’s best player and shut him down while also find­ing his own foot­ball,” McLaugh­lin said.

“He played a key role; he never stopped run­ning.”

The premiership win is Beech­worth Foot­ball Net­ball Club’s first since 2010 and the un­der 14s’ first flag since 2008 cap­ping an awe­some sea­son.

McLaugh­lin said ev­ery­thing was a blur af­ter the fi­nal siren sounded.

“Once we got through ex­tra time, I can’t re­mem­ber much,” he said.

“It is all a blur. I ran on to the field and lapped up the mo­ment with the boys.”

It caps a great sea­son for the outgo- ing coach McLaugh­lin.

“What a way to go out, hey?” McLaugh­lin said.

“I am very happy to walk away, the boys need a new voice and some new ideas, I will stick around the team but not in a full time ca­pac­ity.

“I just want to thank every­one in­volved with the team this sea­son, to all the busi­nesses that dressed their shop fronts; you re­ally made it spe­cial for the kids.

“To Dale Walker, Jeff Voight, Rob Sin­clair, Paul O’Meara, Adam Fendyk and Richard Guthrie; your sup­port dur­ing the year was sen­sa­tional- thank you.”

PHO­TOS: Jamie Pronk

PREMIERSHIP VICTORS: (Clock­wise from top left) Coach Bill McLaugh­lin and as­sis­tant coach Dale Martin em­brace af­ter the siren; (in­set) Harry Guthrie is called to the stage to be awarded the best on ground medal; Ma­son Fendyk at­tacks the foot­ball; Cap­tain Lukas Jakob­s­son leads An­gus Pronk (VC) and Henry Stephens (VC) along with his team on to the field; Jakob­s­son and McLaugh­lin re­ceive the premiership cup and the flag.

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