KYNETON produced a stirring last quarter to clinch an ultra- gritty 11-point win over Sandhurst in an enthralling BFNL contest on Saturday.
On what was a cold and wet winter day at the Kyneton Showgrounds, it wasn't pretty as the two teams were locked in a contested battle for four quarters and goals weren't easy to come by.
But ultimately, the Tigers kicked the last two goals to win 9.19 (73) to 9.8 (62) and continue their resurgence in what was a crucial result that lifts them to 5-3 and keeps them in fifth position, while the Dragons are now two games adrift of the top five.
With three consecutive wins now over Sandhurst, Eaglehawk (at Canterbury Park) and Golden Square - all games that had been up for grabs during the last quarter - it's tough to recall a better three-game sequence of results for the Tigers since their glory years in the '90s.
Had the Tigers lost, though, they only would have had themselves to blame given the clear discrepancy in scoring shots of 28 to 17.
But fortunately for the Tigers, their inaccuracy - particularly through the second and third quarters when they scored a combined 2.14 - didn't come back to haunt them as they took another significant step towards their push for September.
While neither team kicking 10 goals would give some indication of the challenging conditions that didn't allow it to be a game of finesse, rather one of territory, the length of the match also told a tale of the stop-start nature of it given the constant stoppages.
The first quarter lasted 34 minutes; the second 33; the third 29 and the fourth a taxing 39 for a total game time of 135 minutes.
The Dragons - who were coached by assistant Dave Gallagher with Ash Connick unavailable - will lament one that got away given they spent the bulk of the day in front and led by as many as 27 points during the first quarter after making a flying start with the opening four goals of the game.
What later became a gripping final quarter that had followed a goal-less third term when Kyneton kicked 0.4 and Sandhurst 0.1 began with the Dragons leading by 10 points, 7.6 to 4.14.
The first 13 minutes of the final term were dominated by the Tigers and a purple patch from their class forward Rhys Magin.
The Tigers had the first six scoring shots of the final term, kicking 3.3, with Magin booting all three of the goals.
The second goal when he nailed a left-foot snap at the six-minute mark put the Tigers in front for the first time for the day and when he marked and converted a set-shot seven minutes later the Tigers were out to an 11-point lead and with a wave of momentum behind them looked on the charge to victory.
But the Dragons responded with back-to-back goals through Jake McLean and Noah Walsh.
The Walsh goal at the 31-minute mark came from a boundary throw-in 60m from Sandhurst's goal.
The ball spilled over the back of the contest, Walsh swooped on it and from 45m drilled the goal to put the Dragons up by one point.
Adding to the drama was that at this stage of the game the electronic scoreboard had gone blank, meaning neither the score or time were being shown.
For the next five minutes the game remained a desperate battle as the Dragons valiantly fought to maintain their advantage, while the Tigers with a vocal home crowd behind them continued to press hard.
Enter Magin again. As the clock ticked over 36 minutes Magin was awarded a free kick after a deliberate out of bounds was paid against Sandhurst.
Needing at least a behind to level the scores, Magin did better than that - much better.
From 40m on the boundary Magin threaded the goal to put the Tigers back in front and then two minutes later delivered the final blow when he slotted his fifth goal of the term - and sixth of the game after kicking one in the first quarter - before the siren sounded soon after.
Kicking six of his side's nine goals, Magin had a profound impact on the result for the Tigers, while hard-at-it midfielder Dean Bartrop revelled in the conditions.
Sandhurst's better players were led by two of their defenders in Liam Ireland and James Coghlan, who had the big match-up on Tigers' star Cameron Manuel, who kicked two goals.
With Kyneton captain James Orr out, the game was denied a battle of two of the premier ruckmen in the competition between he and Sandhurst's Hamish Hosking.
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