May 20/21 Tournament
Hosted by the Lehigh Valley Crocodiles
Spring 2000 East Coast Lightning Premiership
The weather was absolutely gruesome and the field a watery mess; yet the weekend was totally awesome! Four teams contested against each other over the two days and the result – aussie rules footy is a winner in the Lehigh Valley!
Lawrence Park Football Club made the trip from Toronto in Canada and they started proceedings on Saturday the 20th at 12 noon by taking on the Lehigh Valley Crocs. The Toronto team was very talented and had some outstanding players but at half time, the game was pretty even with the Toronto team up by only four points. The second half was totally different with Lawrence park giving the Crocs a lesson and they ran away to win convincingly. The final score was Lawrence Park 7-6-48 to Lehigh Valley 3-3-21. Goalscorers for the Crocs were Scott Frankenfield with 2 and Dustin Jones with 1. Best players were Scott Frankenfield, Butch Meichur, Jon Loring, John Schultheis, Adam Roth, Dustin Jones, Nolan Berlew and Josh Loring.
The next game was a tough encounter with the number one team in the country, Boston, taking on an eager Baltimore/Washington side. Baltimore/Washington were too good and ran out fairly easy winners 5-9-39 to Boston 3-2-20.
It was now the Crocs turn to play again but this time against the Baltimore/Washington eagles. One more loss would mean that the Crocs would be out of the final scheduled for Sunday. The final would played between the 2 best teams and at this stage it looked to be a certainty that Lehigh would not make it.
But something happened because the Crocs came out like they had a score to settle. Each player from Lehigh went hard at the ball like at no other time this season. As a result Baltimore/Washington were shell-shocked at the Crocs raced away to a lead at the half. The eagles came out in the 2nd half-desperate but the Crocs were relentless – fighting hard for every ball. As a result, the Crocs won with a score of 6-4-40 to the eagles 5-5-35. Goalkickers for the Crocs were R. Giabardo with 4 and one a piece to Scott Frankenfield and Dustin Jones. Best players were Chris Elphick, Josh Loring, Jon Loring, Dustin Jones, Butch Meichur, Nolan Berlew, John Schultheis, and Todd Messinger. The Crocs were now back in the hunt and finally had earned a win against the Eagles.
The next game was between Boston and Lawrence Park. Boston came out, battled hard, and soon was in front of the Canadians. Lawrence Park tried to peg back the score but the demons were playing great defense. Boston won the game 7-5-47 to the rebels 6-4-40.
So at the end of the first day of play, each team had won a game and it was clear – whoever won on Sunday in the round robin clashes would earn a spot in the final.
Sunday morning arrived and the first game to be played was Boston versus Lehigh Valley. The loser would be out! Lehigh Valley came out like terrors and surprised Boston by kicking goal after goal. With great kicking by Schultheis out from the full back position, the Crocs ran the ball down the field repeatedly. Boston was helpless as this total team effort by the Crocs quickly put to rest the notion that we were just an inexperienced bunch of kids. Lehigh Valley beat Boston with heart, determination, and fearlessness – totally awesome! The final score was the Crocs 10-4-64 to Boston 5-4-34. Goalkickers were R.Giabardo 4, Nolan Berlew 3, and 1 each to Todd Messinger, Dustin Jones and Jon Loring. Best players – the whole team were super! The Crocs were now in the final but against whom?
Lawrence Park took on Baltimore/Washington for the decider. Baltimore/Washington however, completely outclassed the Toronto team to run away winners 7-10-52 to 2-1-13.
The final was set – Lehigh Valley versus Baltimore/Washington – what a cracker! The Crocs started off brilliantly outscoring Balt/Wash. 4 goals to 1 in the first 15 minutes of the half. The eagles looked lost. Suddenly our best player in the game, John Schultheis, while racing up the field had his leg taken from under him and was in agony in the middle of the ground. He had broken his leg! 10 minutes passed and he was off the ground to the hospital and this gave Baltimore/Washington time to regroup and change the side around. Just before the break, they scored a quick goal, which bridged the gap. The Crocs seemed rattled and off their game. After the break Baltimore/Washington steadied and attacked the goals relentlessly as the Crocs defense came under enormous pressure. In the end, the Eagles had too much height and we could not compensate for the loss of Schultheis who had been driving the ball into the forward zone all day. The final score was Eagles 6-3-39 to Lehigh Valley Crocs 5-3-33. The eagles had won the final by a goal! Goalkickers were R. Giabardo 2 and 1 each to Scott Frankenfield, Jon Loring, and Todd Messinger. Best players were Chris Elphick, Josh Loring, Todd Messinger, Adam Roth, Butch Meicher and John Schultheis until he was forced off. A great team effort by the Crocs – a weekend of which to be proud – and with a lot more at training Tuesday and Wednesday we will be better still.