THE sigh of relief exhaled by Eaglehawk's coaching staff, players and supporters almost knocked the Canterbury Park grandstand over after Saturday's hard-fought victory against Kyneton.
After cruising to a 47-point lead by half-time, Eaglehawk could not halt Kyneton's remarkable 11-goal run in the third term.
Playing to the Simpsons Road end, Kyneton slammed on 11.1 to 1.4 in one of the most amazing quarters a team has played in Bendigo Football League history in recent seasons.
There was plenty at stake as sixth took on seventh on the Borough's turf.
The Tigers run in the third included a hat-trick of goals by Jake Hyland as many other team-mates chipped in.
Kyneton's dominance at the centre ball-ups and stoppages meant the Borough defence was under extreme pressure.
In the air or at ground level, Kyneton was able to kick goals at will.
The Mark Adamson-coached Kyneton scored five unanswered goals as they turned a 20-point deficit into a 10-point lead and momentum was clearly with those in yellow and black.
After being completely outplayed, Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan urged the team's more experienced players to start winning more contests in what was to become an energy-sapping final term.
Players the calibre of Josh Ketterer, Tim Nicolson, Brodie Collins, captain Luke Button and Damien Lock showed the way.
Eaglehawk peppered the goals, but was astray.
Ruckman-forward Tim Nicolson leapt and took a great mark about 40m out.
Nicolson’s goal levelled scores, 104-all, in the ninth minute.
After a hat-trick of behinds the Hawks went up by seven when Damian Wust goaled on the run.
The Wust goal was set up by Lock’s courageous mark on the goal line.
Passes were then marked by Cam McGlashan and Sean Williams on the grandstand wing and forward flank.
The Williams kick was marked by first-gamer Andrew Jardine, who in turn handpassed to Wust on the run.
Kyneton goaled to be within a point in the 29th minute.
Again it was Nicolson who proved to be the match-winner when he goaled from a set shot at seconds to go.
Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan said he was extremely proud of the team’s effort.
“This match was a massive challenge for us,” Monaghan said.
“Some late changes because of injury meant we had four first-game players – Dylan Hanley, Rhys May, Andrew Jardine and Hayden White – in this team.
“It was a big ask for such a young group.”
Monaghan said Eaglehawk’s pressure and work to shut down Kyneton’s run in the first half was excellent.
“Kyneton took a lot of risks and had numbers forward in the third quarter.
“They were winning a lot more contests and capitalised on their 50m entries.”
Monaghan said the Tigers’ run and dare put the Hawks under a lot of pressure in the third quarter.
“The way we responded in the last showed a lot of character within this group.
“There were a lot of key moments in the final quarter. It was not just about taking marks and getting kicks, but chases, tackles and the one per cent plays.”
The Hawks have now used 41 players in the seniors this year.
In a contest where 35 goals were kicked, Matt Gilmore and Kyneton’s Ben Weightman led the way on six and seven goals respectively.
The Hawks play at Strathfieldsaye in round 11, while Kyneton is at home against Sandhurst.