Cats claim miracle home victory

It was high stakes at Island Park where Casterton Sandford and East Gambier left nothing on the table in search of a critical win for their respective Bendigo Bank Western Border Football League campaigns.

In a round marred by miserable weather, it rained goals in the Cats and Dogs clash where both teams had their moments in a super Saturday afternoon contest.

The tone was set early in the first term when Mark Rumbelow kicked the first of his five majors as the East flew into the first break with the lead after booting five big ones headlined by youngster Matty Bennett, who showed his prowess from outside 50.

The Bulldogs continued their rampage into the second term where they dominated kicking four goals to one by hurting the hosts on the outside.

With East leading by 46 points, dominating the centre clearances and Rumbelow not missing a set shot, a few of the Casterton faithful could have been forgiven for thinking it was a game that got away.

However, the players refused to back down and back-to-back majors by Diarmid Cleary brought the Victorians to life.

Dylan Ayton, Cleary and Matt Killey in full flight, the Cats got their claws out and started winning the contested ball.

Suddenly the pendulum had swing 180 degrees and East’s lead was slashed from 46 to eight points within a quarter of an hour.

By the final term the battered Bulldogs had no response to the home side’s stunning display of positive football and the Cats hit the lead eight minutes into the fourth term.

To the delight of the loud home crowd, the remainder of the game was a Casterton Sandford exhibition as it cruised to a miraculous 21-point win after kicking 11-straight goals on a day that will be talked about for a long time at Island Park.

The star behind the comeback was an unlikely hero in Alistair McCrae, who appeared to be ruled out of Casterton Sandford’s plans after choosing to play elsewhere, but returned to the “Cattery” last week and made an immediate impact kicking six of the best.

Casterton Sandford coach Kane Forbes said it was a vital win in the context of the season.

“In terms of the season it was massive for us giving us a little bit of breathing room on the ladder,” he said.

“I think we won one from eight centre clearances in the second quarter and at half time I do not think anyone at the ground including myself thought we were any chance of winning.

“At half time we put the pressure on the mids just to get some respect back and to their credit they responded.

“We started to win the contested footy and score goals pretty quickly and it was a nice with the crowd amping up behind us.

“It was nice feeling to win our first of the year at Island Park and some of the boys probably carried on like we won a grand final.”

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