THE Bega Bombers held on valiantly to defeat the Merimbula Diggers at the Bega Showground on Saturday.
The Bombers senior Aussie rules squad clung to a narrow lead in the final quarter to win 11.13 (79) over Merimbula’s 10.12 (72).
Bega senior coach Matt Fleet said he was impressed by his squad.
“It was a gutsy game,” Fleet said.
“They just stick to their guns and keep going.”
The Bombers took an early lead thanks to tremendous play by Dale Leahy, Chris Dwyer and Adam Blacka.
Meanwhile, Merimbula rover Adam Daley dominated possession where he could to see the Diggers scoring some points.
However, the defence of the Bombers was steadfast and denied plenty of opportunities.
Damian Stackpole and John Harney worked hard through the backline and repelled plenty of Merimbula attacks.
At quarter time the Bombers had a narrow lead.
Unfortunately for the home side, the Diggers came back firing in the second quarter.
With the scores near level, both sides matched each other point-for-point.
Daniel Edwards was leading the Merimbula attack with devastating long-range kicks.
Meanwhile, Cody Hazelgrove-Danvers and Scott Hay impressed for the Bombers.
Both were taking high-flying marks and diving for the ball to see Bega hold possession.
By the big break, the scores were deadlocked at 43-43.
When play resumed it was the Bega side gaining momentum and posting three goals and a haul of behinds in the third quarter.
Fleet said a few minor injuries were popping up, but players were eager to press on and wouldn’t come off the field.
“You couldn’t tell them, they just wanted to be on the field.
“Everyone stood up so well and I couldn’t be prouder of the boys,” he said.
Despite a few temper flare-ups, discipline issues were almost non-existent.
“All the guys accounted for themselves very well.”
At the three-quarter siren, the Bombers had opened up a 16-point lead.
With the final siren looming, play intensified in the Bombers defensive half as the Diggers launched desperate attacks on the goal.
A couple of long-range attacks were cut down by the fingertips of the Bega defence, giving up a behind instead of a goal.
Merimbula took a diving mark with about three minutes to play and nailed the goal to come within two points.
However, Stackpole combined with Dwyer and then Hay to push play forward for Bega.
Blacka found a mark and nailed the goal from 40 metres out to keep Bega in front.
The strong Bega crowd held its collective breath as the final minute counted down.
As the siren sounded, the Bombers had toppled the SCAFL powerhouse by seven points.
The bench sighed with relief as the scoreboard read just a two-point margin until the final results were tallied.
Fleet said the final quarter was a display of resilience and determination the Bombers are becoming known for and hoped to develop further in the season.