Eltham Lacrosse Club stalwart Alan “Blackie” Black referees his 500th game

ELTHAM and Victorian lacrosse stalwart Alan “Blackie” Black refereed his 500th game on Saturday.

The former Eltham player, coach, president and committee member took up refereeing for Lacrosse Victoria after serving the Eltham club for many years.

He has been a consistent, well-respected referee over the journey, and his good sense of humour has held him in good stead with players.

His no-nonsense approach to officiating was summed up when accepting a plaque, thanks and accolades prior to the milestone game.

“We’ll blow the whistle to start the game, we’ll blow it again to end it and, if we see fit, we’ll blow it sometimes in between,” Black said.

Fittingly, Black’s 500th was a State League clash between great rivals Eltham and Williamstown and players formed a guard of honour in recognition of the achievement.

The undefeated Williamstown would have been expecting another notch on its season belt last week but the Panthers had other ideas.

A convincing 3-1 first quarter had the Seagulls on their heels and wondering how they could score as Aaron Sargent started the game with some great saves in goal and continued to do so all day.

Eltham worked hard in defence and managed to get the right match-ups on the Williamstown star players.

Young defender Billy Sunjo played a solid game while Chris Moffat and Alex Kruse ran the midfield wings and gave the defence some drive out of the back half.

Meanwhile, Eltham’s inconsistent offence had come to play and, with good control, patience and movement, they set the tone for the day.

The second quarter was a repeat of the first with captain Caleb Hall leading from the front through the midfield shooting two goals for the half with Jason Bramall giving excellent transition and poise at both ends of the field.

Tim Ratje stood up again in attack, shooting two goals before half time, well supported by Bryce Wiles and Liam Sedgwick with one apiece.

Eltham took a four-goal lead to the half time break but knew Williamstown would come out firing after the break.

Coach Daniel Stiglich urged his team to be prepared to weather a storm and keep their heads. The Seagulls did come out hard and took their chances, scoring four straight goals to tie up the contest before Harry Caddy fielded his own rebounded shot to put the second attempt away.

The game was poised for a tight finish and a test of nerve for the Eltham team.

Nathan Bell played a solid game in the centre and continued to do so in the final quarter to give Eltham use of the ball.

And, with Hall shooting another two goals to be the top scorer with four for the game, and with Ratje shooting his third, the result was beyond doubt and Eltham won 10-7 to climb in to the top four.

 

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