By JARROD POTTER
INTERVENING weather stopped what could have been an exceptional comeback for the Berwick Diamonds on Sunday, downed in a called-off 16-30 loss to visiting Geelong Buccaneers.
The first term was toughly fought between each side’s 30-yard lines as neither Diamond nor Buccaneer could get off the chain.
With the sun baking down throughout the early phases of the clash, neither side was able to generate any sizeable forward momentum, with punting and Hail Mary fourth down attempts the order of the day.
Both defences crunched in for a number of tackles – including a superb run-down effort from line-backer Silia Johnson to stop a Buccaneers first down (and potentially more).
Geelong finally broke the shackles in the air – as quarterback Kendra Niba made two great passing plays to set up their first touchdown half-way through the second term.
The Buccaneers made the two-point conversion with another piece of aerial acrobatics to take the 8-0 lead but the Diamonds were never dusted as the points started to pile on after the half.
Geelong piled on the points as it worked its way up to 30 points for the afternoon, but the Diamonds dug deep to stick with them.
Sarah Mu made one of the third term scores to bring the gap back to 14, but to the home-side’s dismay, once the Diamonds got their offence going, the chaotic spring weather started to encroach.
A lightning storm lashed Rawling Field and the officials decided to call the game early with eight minutes remaining in the fourth term, just as the Diamonds reached their red-zone and were tipping the match in their favour.
Diamonds coach Alan Murphy was disappointed to see the match called off, especially as the passing shower would have only required a short delay of game.
“We scored twice in the third quarter in quick succession and had driven down and were fourth down and missed a pass then we pinned them back in their own five-yard line,” Murphy said.
“With eight or nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, it should only take 20 or 25 minutes.
“That’s looking at least three or four offensive incursions and having them pinned would have made them nervous and if they punted and we got them back to the 15-20, we could have got them in.
“I didn’t see why we couldn’t wait 45 minutes for the rain to clear and it cleared within 15 or 20 minutes, so the players and coaches were disappointed it couldn’t be out.”
Murphy praised his offensive stars Fale Uini (quarterback), Judith Fili Fa’auli and Sam Kelly (wide receivers) and on the defence Johnson and Marie Neophytou. The Diamonds sit fourth on the Gridiron Victoria women’s ladder behind Northern Lady Raiders, Croydon Rangers and Geelong Buccaneers.
The Diamonds are first up on Sunday morning at their Sydney Pargeter Reserve home field – their last game of the season before finals battling the Melbourne Uni Chargers from 10am; a must-win match to make finals.
The club is donning the pink socks, laces and headbands and probably even the war paint for the Breast Cancer Council Australia – to help raise money to combat the disease. The Berwick Miners junior boys were up first on Sunday and despite a hard-edged, bruising performance against Monash, the Miners had to settle for a 12-24 defeat.
Any women interested in joining the club are encouraged to contact the Diamonds via their Facebook by searching for “Berwick Miners Diamonds Womens Gridiron”.