SUNS SHINE YET AGAIN

Part three of Westy's top 20 sport stories of 2013

10 - STRATHDALE SALUTES - the Suns added another chapter to their Bendigo District Cricket Association dynasty with their third flag in a row against Eaglehawk in March.

In a grand final where the state of the QEO wicket was the biggest talking point, the Suns answered Eaglehawk's 100 with 7-149 before stumps were pulled early on day two.

The soft pitch was a nightmare to bat on day one and it was no surprise when Suns' captain Linton Jacobs (pictured with Cameron Taylor) bucked the trend and bowled first.

What followed was 16 wickets falling on day one for 185 runs, with the Suns' Ben DeAraugo the main benefactor with 6-55 in his third-straight grand final man-of-the-match performance.

But if DeAraugo had his way, he would have batted first. Not sure why.

But if DeAraugo had his way, he would have batted first. Not sure why - Luke West

Highlighting just how tough the conditions were for the batsmen, only four players made more than 20, with the Suns' Nick Baker's 35 n.o. the highest score.

9. BRILLIANT BRIDGY - the Loddon Valley Football League grand final between Bridgewater and Bears Lagoon-Serpentine in September was a beauty.

The Bears led by 27 points at quarter-time, before the Mean Machine kicked into gear and by the 10-minute mark of the last quarter were 35 points up.

But just as the game looked over, the Bears kicked the last four goals before Bridgewater clung on to win by eight points. 

In the end, Bridgewater's Alex Collins (seven goals) was the difference in what was the Mean Machine's fourth premiership in a row.

8. FAREWELL SHARELLE - the curtain came down on one of central Victoria's greatest sporting careers in July when Bamawm netballer Sharelle McMahon announced her retirement.

From humble beginnings on the netball court at Lockington Primary School, McMahon went on to play 118 games for Australia, win two Commonwealth Games gold medals and two world championship gold medals among a stellar career.

A superstar on the international netball stage, McMahon has never forgotten her central Victorian grassroots.

7. SIX WON'T GO INTO FIVE - there was intrigue all through the Bendigo Football League season as six sides jostled for the five spots in the finals.

Eaglehawk, Gisborne, Golden Square, Sandhurst, South Bendigo and Strathfieldsaye were the BFL's big six this year, but there was only room for five of them in September.

Four of these teams sat on top at some stage, including South Bendigo.

The Bloods occupied top position at the halfway mark of the season, but faded to end up being the team that missed the finals after losing by 103 points to Eaglehawk in the final round.

Such was the logjam heading into the last round, had the Bloods beaten Eaglehawk, they would have finished third, yet the loss ended their season.

While Strathfieldsaye finished six points clear at the top, just six points separated second to sixth.

To give that some context, over the previous 10 years there had been an average of 24 points separating second and sixth.

6. SELWOOD'S SUPER YEAR - how exciting was the Brownlow Medal night as Geelong's Joel Selwood went toe-to-tie with former team-mate Gary Ablett.

Selwood looked like joining Greg Williams as a Bendigo Brownlow Medal winner when he led the count until, on the final vote of the night, Gold Coast's Ablett polled three votes to pip Selwood by one vote.

Selwood may not have won the Brownlow, but how's this for a season of accolades - Geelong best and fairest, All-Australian captain, plus being voted best captain and most courageous in the AFL Players Association Awards.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop