THE Bomaderry Tigers are the first team in this year’s first grade grand final, after edging out minor premiers Gerringong 2-1 in Saturday’s major semi-final at Ison Park.
Heading into the encounter, the two sides had split their two regular season encounters, which was evident with the physical start to the match.
Bomaderry eventually started to dominate field position, with their first real chance coming after six minutes, when Nick Evans headed a ball towards the goal form a cross – for it to be pushed behind for a corner by Breakers goalkeeper Joel Lockard.
Gerringong then responded with a chance of their own – a Paul Gaffney cross was deflected just wide of the posts by Bomaderry defenders.
This was a sign of things to come, as the Breakers gained the ascendancy for the next 15 minutes.
The best of all the chances fell to Kane Rowe, who after a through ball, stepped Tigers keeper Scott Fagerlund and got a shot away – which was courageously saved off the line by Cam Nelson.
The Breakers onslaught continued four minutes later, when Gary Vian created space for himself but his shot was just saved by Fagerlaund’s outstretched hand.
Not to be outdone, the Tigers fought their way back into the match and finally had the match’s opening goal in the final five minutes of the first half.
After a cross from Tom Moffatt, the bell ended with Jordan Haddow on the edge of the box and after a sharp first touch, he volleyed the ball past Lockard and into the back of the net – which is how it remained until half-time.
The break obviously helped the Breakers, who equalised three minutes after the resumption, when the Tigers failed to clear the ball in the box and Rowe slammed it into the back netting.
Following the equaliser, both teams had numerous chances – the Tigers’ through Evans, Brendan Kellett, Moffatt, Haddow and the Breakers through Gaffney, Jordan Lando and Jake Packham, with Dale Russell clearing his shot off the line.
Finally, with three minutes remaining the deadlock was broken – Tigers’ Matt Kellett hit a shot on the edge of the box with his left boot into the top left corner of the goal, sealing the 2-1 win.
In the win, the Tigers were best served by Haddow, Evans and Fagerlund while Gaffney, Joel Lockard and Alex Bayer did what they could for the Breakers.
The Tigers will now play either Gerringong or Illaroo for the Bolden Blackmore Shield, after the latter defeated reigning premiers Culburra 2-nil in Sunday’s minor semi-final.
The win was set up by goals from Evan Leedham and Trent Bray, both in the match’s final 15 minutes.
“It was a very tight and physical encounter, in which we didn’t play our best but usually when that’s the case, we lose, so I’m stoked we got the win,” Timbs said.
“Especially against Culburra who have seemed to have our measure and knock us out of the finals in recent years.”
Timbs also praised the play of keeper Adam Arnott and defender Jarvis Strand.
In reserve grade, Culburra defeated Huskisson 1-nil in the major semi-final while Gerringong edged out Bomaderry 5-4 in the minor.
In third grade, Wreck Bay qualified for the decider, winning 4-1 against Culburra, who will now play Huskisson, who defeated Gerringong 4-1.