ROUND 15 REVIEW
Last weekend four teams played at the Club’s traditional home ground, Ern Holmes Oval in the Back to the Ern and Past Players Round. There was some great football witnessed and a wonderful crowd including many past players in attendance. Pennant Hills won three out of four matches with the BIG ONE in Premier Division decided by less than a goal in the home team’s favour. This match was a tight, speedy affair in which there was never much between the two teams. Penno led at every change, however, North Shore had the opportunity to win the game with the last scoring shot of the day, but only managed to register a minor score from a very gettable shot on goal. Phew, the collective sigh (and jeers) of the partisan crowd were audible and palpable.
A great day for the Club was capped off with a rousing rendition of “Grand Old Flag” performed by the team and a large group of ‘old boys’ who packed the change shed and raised its roof. In a moving moment, memories of past successes undoubtedly came flooding back and for the boys of 2006 and 1996, they would have been transported back to their own glory days!
The only casualty at the Ern was our Division One side which had a disappointing loss against Balmain and thereby surrendered the Bill Carey Cup to the Tigers. Unfortunately, Seb Parker playing his 201st game for the Club, was unable to celebrate the occasion with a win.
Our Division Three and Five teams continued on their merry ways, both recording big wins against their opposition from Balmain. Division Five secured the Minor Premiership as they are now two games ahead of 2nd place with one round of the H&A season left to play. For Division Three, in a surprising result, top of the table Wollondilly lost to 3rd placed Nor-West Jets, thereby surrendering the ladder lead back to Pennant Hills on percentage, 15 wins and 1 loss each. Our boys will play both these sides in the next two weeks, results that will decide whether Pennant Hills or Wollondilly secure the Minor Premiership.
Across at Mike Kenny Oval, we also had two teams competing, but both the Under 19s and Women’s sides were outplayed. The weekend therefore produced 3 wins and 3 losses.
ROUND 16 PREVIEW
This week Premier Division plays St George Dragons in a crucial match for the team’s finals prospects. The Dragons are sitting comfortably in 2nd place on the Premier Division ladder, two games ahead of 3rd place. After last week’s victory over North Shore, there are now three sides all with 8 wins vying for 3rd place. They are North Shore (3rd), Pennant Hills (4th) and UTS Bats (5th). The top five sides are now two games clear of Manly in 6th place, however, the Giants are still mathematically in with a chance to make finals, but will probably need to win all of their last three matches.
Pennant Hills will go a long way to securing a top four spot by beating St George this weekend. St George has been great this season across all grades, so they will go in as warm favourites on Saturday. However, the margin was only 11 points in their favour when we last played them in Round 2 at their home ground and we are playing much better and more consistently than at that time. Coming off four consecutive wins, our boys will be confident that they can match the Dragons and a tight, rugged exchange is anticipated.
Last week’s loss to Balmain, means that our Division One side sits in 7th place, although they are still only one game behind fourth place; they are nevertheless competing with three other sides for the 4th and 5th spots. In the remaining three rounds they have to play two sides that are above them on the ladder, St George (3rd) this weekend and Sydney University (4th) in Round 18. In between, they play away to Southern Power (8th). They probably can’t afford to drop another game at this time of the season, not only making this weekend’s clash with St George absolutely crucial, but meaning the result of every game from here on in will be season defining.
As noted above, Division Three is currently leading the competition by percentage from 2nd placed Wollondilly. The result of this weekend’s match against the Knights will most likely determine the Minor Premiership. If Penno win, they would go ahead by a game and even if they were to lose their final match to Nor-West, it is unlikely that Wollondilly could eclipse our percentage which currently exceeds theirs by more than 100 percentage points. Having only lost to Wollondilly by 11 points a fortnight ago, in the quagmire that was Hannaford Oval, this week’s home match promises to be a cracker. Our boys’ spirits and confidence will be high and a hot contest is in prospect.
Division Five has already secured the Minor Premiership, as they are 2 games ahead of 2nd placed UNSW/ES Bulldogs with only one round to play. They play 4th placed Nor-West this weekend and will be looking for a convincing win in preparation for finals. Congratulations to all the boys that have contributed to what has been a fantastic season so far for Division Five.
After losing to an undefeated North Shore side, our Under 19s are lying in 6th place, one game behind fifth. They play South Coast Thunder (3rd) this weekend and should be aided by a home ground advantage. The last two rounds are against Manly and Camden Cats, two sides they have already had good wins against this season. So, winning this weekend is crucial and sets up the chance of making finals. A loss will make it very hard.
For our Women’s team the season ended last weekend. Whilst we were all hoping to finish the season off with a stirring win over Newtown Breakaways, the team played under-strength (15 versus 22 players) and struggled to score. The loss meant that the team finished 7th out of 11, a very creditable result given it was the team’s inaugural season. Everyone here at the Club is immensely pleased with the effort and performance of our ladies and we look forward to bigger and better things next season. Congratulations girls on a fantastic start to your footy careers. Your contribution adds another chapter to the rich story and history of the Pennant Hills Football Club.
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