Ganmain Stole 1964 South West Premiership By Two Points
BY JACK LUHRS
Ganmain stole the 1964 South-West League premiership from Griffith when they won Sunday's "heart-stopping" grand final by only two points 15.8 (98) to 13.18 (96).
Amid a final quarter of brilliant football, as pouring rain saturated the players, the lead changed no less than seven times.
Then Ganmain's coach Tom Carroll kicked a near miracle goal in the final seconds after Griffith had held a 4 points lead for the last five minutes of the match.
As the final siren sounded, with Ganmain two points in front, hundreds of excited fans swarmed onto the playing ground to greet both winners and losing teams.
And Ganmain's exhilaration was only matched by the bitter disappointment of Griffith in a match neither deserved to lose.
Clearly it was a game that will be remembered for years, not always for its great football but for the sheer excitement built into the final term.
Both sides to a man gave the match "their all." Rarely has a football game in this area stirred up "bitter-sweet" supporters to such a high pitch. Ganmain undoubtedly deserved to win as much as Griffith did not deserve to lose.
The Maroons turned the winning breaks when they came to greater advantage whilst Griffith could partly blame wasted opportunities for their losing score.
Despite the latter aspect, the magnificence of the Red and White game in the final quarter should have won its reward by gaining Griffith their second premiership in the 25 years they have played in the League.
Ganmain's freakish ability to goal from impossible positions and angles highlighted their victory and complimented by near-fantastic number of majors they under the conditions.
On the day, Griffith had eight more scoring shots than the Maroons, but Ganmain 15-8 to 13-18 tells its own story.
Ironically, the Griffith player who failed to capitalise on his chances of putting Griffith into a winning position, went within a ace of being the hero of the match was full forward-rover Ian Crewes.
Shockingly off target in the first three stanzas but strong in his ground play when switched onto the ball, Crewes booted no less than four of the Red and Whites six goals in the last quarter.
But it was Tom Carroll that had the honour of being chaired off the ground as the player that put the final seal on the game.
Trailing by four points and with the timekeepers with the hand on the siren button, Carroll grabbed a loose ball out of a pack, although swamped by the Griffith defence, Carroll booted it high into the air for the ball to fall between the goals to give Ganmain its 12th South-West premiership.
Heavy overnight rain and decidedly poor weather outlook early in the day reduced the crowd to give a gate of £1,034 but apart from several heavy mud patches mainly in the centre, the ground was in surprisingly good condition.
Ganmain won the toss and aided by a strong N.E. wind rattled on 6.2 (36) to 1.5 (11) in the first term.
The obvious Griffith nervousness reflected itself early in the match and even with the wind in the second term, although reducing the leeway to five points the Red and Whites poor forward play with 16 shots to 11 in the first half was a costly handicap.
Ganmain managed to gain a 10-points lead on the final crossover with Griffith having use of the wind. But rain replaced wind midway through this term and both sides snapped goal for goal in a blistering build-up of majors by both sides.
Griffith had great service from many players in the match but Peter Morris, Bob Little and John Foley shared equal match honours.
In his final game for Griffith, skipper Peter Morris was an inspiration whilst Bob Little played one of his best games this season. Griffith ruck quartet of Little, Biron, Eley and Bob Carroll won it the lion's share of the ball and also marked strongly in the game which featured great ball control.
For Griffith it was a case of many "ifs." If their forward zone had kicked straighter, if Len Sexton's long kick had not hit the goal post, if John Foley had goaled when he had a chance from the goal square, if Bob Little's mark in front of Tom Carroll been allowed, if Tom Carroll's freak goal had been a single, if Gordon Browne had received more favour from umpire Brophy in several doubtful decisions.
However, it would be uncomplimentary to disallow the merit of the Ganmain victory, and the manner they fought to turn the breaks of the match their way.
Both backlines defended superbly in the match with Pat Carroll, Bill McCaig, Eric McCaig and Pat Crouch the best for Ganmain whilst John Walsh, Vic Hathaway, Bob Little, Jim Eley, Gordon Browne and Bill Biron played their part in the Griffith defence.
Len Sexton and Russ Turner each in turn starred against the other with Sexton more prominent in the second half. Ganmain ruckman Pat Crouch played a major role in the Maroon victory and well supported by rovers Ben Cedelland and Ross Reiher.
Pressing Peter Morris and Bob Little for Griffith's best player award, John Foley provided "bite" in the forward zone and he rated one of the best afield.
As runner-up in the 1964 season, Griffith capped off one of the most successful seasons in its history with hundreds of fans giving testimony of this at the club's special evening in the Hanwood Hall after the match.
The Area News - Tuesday September 29, 1964