Eastern Eyre Football | PHOTOS

A grade: Eastern Ranges 14.19 (103) def Ports 11.11 (77)

By the time the A Grade started the wind had abated to gusts of 65 kilometres per hour.

It was an entertaining game well controlled by umpires "Shep", "Bucky" and "Nipper" on exchange from their normal duties in the Mid West Football League.

Ports won the toss and elected to kick to the railway end of the ground, slightly favoured by the howling gale that was more across the ground than down.

But it would prove to be the scoring end with 20 of the game's 25 goals being kicked that way.

Cooper Llewelyn made a welcome return with two early first quarter goals and Sid Masters was in ominous form with another couple as Ports cruised to a five goal quarter time lead.

By mid-way through the second term neither team had managed a major and the game had a 'Ports put Ranges to the sword on their own dung-hill to advance to the grand final' feel about it.

Then somebody flicked a switch.

Pat Jenner came to life with three goals and almost single handedly energised the entire forward line.

Kyron 'Jukebox' McCallum was playing to his own tune with a couple of crunch goals.

In all, seven unanswered goals in 12 minutes of inspired footy had Ranges sitting on what had looked a nigh on impossible lead of 15 points at the long break. 7.8 to 5.5.

Ranges tightened their grip on the game with a further three goals "into" the wind in the third quarter, outpointing Ports four with it.

Baying for an encore, Ranges got what they asked for as Jukebox McCallum kicked another 3 goals to finish with a game and career high 7. Even Jared 'Muscles' Siviour got in on the action, as Ranges kicked four goals from 10 scoring shots in that last quarter to run out 26 point winners 14.19 (103) to 11.11 (77).

I doubt Jukebox was listening to Up There Cazaly - No.1 on the charts almost 40 years ago to the day, but it was an inspirational effort; one that got the parochial Joffa Richardson and his crew 'pitty cited'.

It was more than a one man band effort that got Ranges over the line though. Damo Hannemann had a great contest with Tyrone Bishop and was influential inside and outside of the centre circle.

Michael Noble imposed himself on the game across halfback and foiled many a promising Ports foray forward.

Riley Evans took some great grabs and along with Noah Ramsey on the opposite wing, their hard running and desperate (and often deft) one percenters were the catalyst for much scoreboard activity.

For Ports, who will rue going off the boil in the second half of the second quarter it was their goal kickers who threatened to derail Ranges most.

Cooper Llewelyn finished with five for the day and Sid Masters' tally of three really doesn't do justice to the danger he posed all day.

Tom Davey did more than just wind back the clock with a vintage "screamer" on the far side wing whilst Tyrone Bishop, Scott Masters and Ashley Masters were also high amongst their best.

B Grade: Kimba 9.2 (47) def Ports 4.1 (25)

The B grade was textbook B grade for three quarters with Ports taking a five point lead into the last quarter on the back of a monster goal from Charlie Leech; and despite Kimba kicking to the scoring end to finish the game, it seemed evenly poised.

Ports controlled play early in the last quarter but couldn't get a score on the board and when Dion Harris goaled against the run of play the floodgates opened for the Tigers.

Aaron Johnson and Kevin Dart added goals in quick succession as Kimba slammed through six majors without a miss to win convincingly in the end.

Best for Kimba were Max Glare, Nick Francis, Aaron Johnson, Kevin Dart, Dion Harris (four goals) and their coach Pounds Schillings and Pence.

Senior Colts: Ports 8.8 (56) def Kimba 8.3 (51)

Kimba began the Senior Colts, with one mission in mind - Win The Game - and by the time Bailey Francis had kicked his third (well before quarter time) it certainly wasn't mission impossible.

Looking to erase a 19 point quarter time deficit Ports took a while to get going but erase it they did.

Given the conditions, both sides were playing a great brand of footy despite 'Out Of Bounds On The Full' being the leading possession winner on the ground.

Kimba were able to re-establish a three quarter time lead of nine points, but was it enough?

Almost but not quite.

Levi Leech crept Ports six points closer when he goaled from a tight angle having been rewarded for a classic tackle.

Then goals to Declan Smith and Seth Hutchins put the Ports side in front but they idled for a while and a desperate Tigers team (lifted by a Jed Venning goal into the wind) came within a whisker of snatching victory.

Ultimately diminutive Lucas Boothby (LB) won the game for Ports with an amazing mark deep in defence.

It was reminiscent of the Leo Barry's (coincidently also LB) heroics in the 2005 AFL Grand Final.

Surrounded by at least three Tigers, LB has thrown a hand out and the ball has stuck - pure genius.

It wasn't the most skilful of games, couldn't be given the unrelenting wind, but both sides are to be commended on their desperation and focus to win the ball and move it on.

Lenny McDonough, Seth Hutchins, Brayden Lawrie and Declan Smith for Ports and Max Ramsey, Bailey Francis, Mitchell Yates and Hudson Westhoff for Kimba were typical of that.

Junior Colts: Ranges 2.3 (15) def Ports 2.2 (14)

The question on everybody's lips was could the Junior Colts score in the atrociously windy conditions that were certain to wreak havoc with their kicking.

It didn't take long before Ashton Hartwig put that doubt to bed with Ports first goal.

Louis Schubert did likewise for Ranges in the second quarter and scores were tied away at 1.1 apiece at half-time.

Corey Ottens was the only player to post a score in the third quarter with his goal giving Ports a seven point lead at the last change.

Ranges had several half-opportunities to snatch a win but were denied time and again with Ports mopping up any loose balls and clearing the danger almost at will.

Then with time running out fast, (9:57 of the 10:00 minute quarter had elapsed) a loose ball at the top of the square fell Cody Crosby's way - he pounced, banged a one grab possession onto the boot, and all hell broke loose as it sailed through for the match winner.

Ports were desperately unluckly to lose, Ashton Hartwig, Riley Schubert, Cory Ottens and Riley Masters were outstanding for them whilst for Ranges it was a battle, but one they didn't give up on.

There was more to Cody Crosby's game than his last gasp effort, Louis Schubert continually pressed the ball forward, Cooper Allen chased hard and pressured the opposition's playmakers and Angus Dunn did enough to alter the direction of play on more than one occasion.

Congratulations to the Junior Football medal winners; Mac Seal winning the Danny Horgan Junior Colt award and Tom Laas taking home the Fiegert Family medal for best Senior Colt.

This story Eastern Eyre Football | PHOTOS first appeared on Eyre Peninsula Tribune.