Eastern Eyre Football
Kimba 10-7 (67) def Eastern Ranges 5-8 (38)
WITH a direct line to the weather gods, Kimba Districts hosted Saturday’s second semi-final day in near perfect conditions.
All four grades of football were contests between the hosts and Eastern Ranges.
Kimba’s A grade went into the double-chance final as favourites on the back of wins in the last two minor round match-ups and the inclusion of Joel Fitzgerald who was returning from some knee maintenance.
By half-time if you had backed the favourites you would have been feeling pretty confident of a collect.
It was dour football for the best half of the first quarter and 15 minutes passed before the goal umpires could wave both their flags at once.
The first goal came from the boot of Fitzgerald and he was in ominous form finishing with six goals for the day, from not that many more possessions.
Kimba’s engine room was in good touch and the likes of Andrew Vandeleur, Riley Maitland, Reece Rayson and Ben Clements were able to find their forward targets creating scoring opportunities.
Eastern Ranges struggled in this department.
At the halfway mark Kimba led 5-4 (34) to 2-4 (16), which was a remarkable scoreline given the ideal conditions.
In the context of the match the floodgates opened in the third quarter with Kimba kicking 5-1 to just two points to set up a winning margin that advanced them directly to the grand final in a fortnight’s time.
Kimba’s defence was almost impenetrable with Jesse Kemp breaking to space at every opportunity to create a loose man scenario that was difficult to interrupt.
Blessed with terrific foot skills both Kemp and Blair Buchannan disposed of the Sherrin with great effect.
Eastern Ranges rallied late with a couple of “junk-time” goals to Tony Evans to add some respectability to the score but the final scoreline of 10-7 to 5-8 was probably a bit flattering.
Best players for Kimba were Ben Clements, Andrew Vandeleur, Riley Maitland, Joel Fitzgerald and Bart Stutley while Eastern Ranges named Jess Kenny, Rhyce Beinke, Michael Noble and Tom Forrest as their best players.
There was some consolation for Eastern Ranges with wins in all three earlier games.
The junior colts arrested a two-game losing streak against the Tigers, the senior colts maintained their good form with a dominant win over the hosts and the B grade won an absorbing, low scoring contest by less than a kick.
Eastern Ranges’ A grade will now face off with Ports next week in the preliminary final at Arno Bay, as Kimba get the weekend off to prepare for the grand final.