A HUGE weekend of football in the Wimmera had everything – thrillers, upsets and drama.
Headlining Saturday was a gritty win by Kalkee in the Horsham District Football Netball League qualifying final against Swifts.
The Kees raced out to a big lead in the second quarter only for the Baggies to come storming back in a wild and rainy third term.
Former Dellar Family medallists Ricky Whitehead, of Swifts, and Steve Schultz, of Kalkee, stood out in the midfield.
There were also sterling efforts from defensive talls on both sides, with Josh Beddison living up to his nickname ‘Rock’ in defence for the Kees and Aaron Chavasse playing well on Adam Carter after he got away to a good start.
Kalkee re-asserted control in the midfield when it mattered in the fourth quarter to set up a meeting with Laharum in the second semi-final on Saturday.
In the Wimmera Football League, second-placed Horsham Saints beat minor premier Horsham by two points in a nail-biter at Horsham City Oval.
But it was the results of two other matches that drew the most interest.
Reigning premier Dimboola missed the top five after a 29-point loss to Minyip-Murtoa at home, while Ararat narrowly overcame Stawell to book an elimination final berth against the Burras.
There was no shortage of excitement in the district league under-14 qualifying final.
Pimpinio and Swifts went to extra time after scores were locked at 5.5 (35) apiece at the final siren.
The teams played five minutes of extra time each way and Pimpinio drew first blood through Oscar Cosgrove.
But Swifts found a quick reply, and it looked like the scores would be level again before Cody Helyar became the hero for the Tigers and booted a match-winning behind.
Pimpinio under-14 coach Danny Hamerston said there was elation in the Pimpinio camp after the win.
“A lot of emotions went through my body – nervousness at times, and exhilaration after the final siren,” he said.
“There were a few tears of happiness from some of the players.”
Pimpinio has made a habit of being even with the opposition at the final siren.
It drew both of its matches against Edenhope-Apsley last year – a team it will now face in the second semi-final.
Hamerston said his side was able to fight out draws and close wins through determination.
“I would say our strength is our evenness – we don’t have a team of champions, we’re a champion team,” he said.
There were emotions of a different kind at Jeparit Recreation Reserve as Hopetoun played its final game as a standalone club.
The Devils are set to merge with Beulah later this year, but did not get the send-off they envisioned.
The Devils led the Lakers by five points at the final change but booted seven behinds in the last term to Jeparit-Rainbow’s 2.2 to lose by two points.
It was Jeparit-Rainbow’s first win of the year.
North Central Football League’s home and away season also finished in thrilling fashion.
Birchip-Watchem scraped into the top four after a draw with Boort, which was fighting for the same spot, while Charlton beat reigning premier Wedderburn by one point.