DENMARK Walpole Football Club’s re-introduction last Saturday to home games at McLean Park began and ended dramatically.
The adversary for the four games at Denmark’s home of football was the Mount Barker Bulls.
Both clubs have a long, friendly rivalry in what could be billed as the non-Albany derby.
The under-16s ran out raring to baptise the new paddock when Mt Barker officials declared that they were unhappy with the surface and were not prepared to sign off on its safety for insurance purposes.
This is required at the start of each day’s play and is digitally signed off with the league.
Bulls president Dean Wallinger was called to make the final decision, and after inspection declared that that he was happy for play to commence – bringing a sigh of relief from Denmark officials and shire representatives.
Let the games begin. The opener was played without incident and to a high standard, with a crushing win to Mt Barker, 11 goals 8 behinds (74pts) to Denmark 2:2 (14)
The Colts game which followed was a terrific spectacle and resulted in a motivated Denmark winning 13:9 (87) to Mt Barker 2:8 (20).
One of the central umpires, Ken Davies, said he was happy with the playing surface, which “cut up a little, but I saw nothing to suggest that it was dangerous or inappropriate to play football on.”
When the crowd began to build there was a real buzz as the community got behind their club.
DWFC past-president Kevin Hard praised the new surface, and the club sticking together through many weeks of travelling away to games during the season.
“It’s great to see so many supporters along here today – congratulations to the shire on the way they have presented the oval, it has come up well,” he said.
The Reserves’ game was most enjoyable to watch, with the tight result going to the Bulls, 8:7 (55) to the Magpies 6:12 (48).
Then came the game of the day, the Graham Hard Memorial league encounter.
It was a nail-biter, with Denmark, one point down, marking on the final siren.
The result hung on a single kick – which failed to score, leaving the Bulls on 13:5 (83,) just one chewed fingernail ahead of the Magpies’ 12.10 (82).
Congratulations to the Bulls on their win.
Denmark’s best player award went to Tyler Stone, who received the same recognition in the previous week’s Ben Napier memorial game.
Ben’s parents Tony and Delwyn Napier, together with Steve and Sarah Bondini, were at McLean Park to celebrate the game and mark the placement of a bench dedicated to the memories of Ben and Jack Bondini, both club players who passed on much too early.
At the end of the day the consensus among officials and players from both teams was that the new surface was not only acceptable, but by next year would be sensational.
Denmark shire president Ceinwen Gearon was on hand to see how the rejuvenated playing surface performed and which, due to unforeseen excavation costs, blew out to more than a million dollars.
“I know that delays in the new surface being ready has put the club under pressure, but the safety and wellbeing of all the ground’s users has always been uppermost in council’s considerations, as well as ensuring that the surface is ready to withstand heavy use,” she said.
“Well done to the club for putting on a magnificent day – even if some of the games did not end quite as one might have wished.”
(The Voice congratulates DWFC president Kim Barrow and his team for presenting the club and its facilities in such a convivial manner, ensuring that the community could celebrate the club that has been such an integral part of Denmark life, and all the teams in the Great Southern Football League.)