Nomads farewell stalwart

Club’s only life member chaired off after victory
By Matt Nicholls (Armidale Express, 03/05/2010)

Players' Player Hamish Pearce

Players' Player Hamish Pearce

New England Nomads farewelled their last remaining foundation member in style on Saturday, defeating Gunnedah by 32 points at Bellevue Oval.

Desperate to send club stalwart and life member Ron Crump out on a winning note, the Armidale-based side fought tooth and nail across the four quarters to give the much-loved veteran the opportunity to sing the song one last time.

Led by midfielder Hamish Pearce, the Nomads were quick to find the lead against the Bulldogs, taking a 15-point buffer into quarter-time.

That lead was extended to 17 points at the main break after Weston Whitby fired up forward to keep New England in control.

With Gunnedah only bringing 18 players to Armidale, the match was played as a 16-per-side contest, forcing players to spend extra petrol tickets on the wide expanses of Bellevue Oval.

With most players out on their feet in the second half, it reduced the game to a dogfight, with neither side able to play with fluency through the middle of the ground.

New England kicked just six behinds in the third quarter, with Gunnedah scoring 1.3 to be within 15 points at the final change.

But when the game was up for grabs, the Nomads found something extra, knowing a win would send the much-loved Crump off in style.

Ruckman Omphile Temoso began to dominate the hitouts, while Grant Wagstaff, Clinton Ballagh and Matt Maxwell all produced a first-class final 20 minutes.

Upon winning, the Nomads chaired off Crump, the last remaining member of New England’s inaugural 1999 team.

The English expat said it was an emotional finish to his Australian Rules career.

“There were no tears or anything like that but it was a bit emotional,” he said.

“It’s been a really good club and given me a lot of great memories.”

One of the heads at the University of New England’s animal genetics and breeding unit, Crump will be sorely missed by the Nomads.

Since joining in the middle stages of 1999, Crump has worn many hats at the club, including treasurer, secretary, team manager and website co-ordinator.

While never the best player at Bellevue Oval (which is not surprising considering he debuted at 35), Crump has certainly been one of the most committed.

A regular trainer despite serious knee injuries, Crump was also New England’s inaugural life member.

In 2001 he won the most improved award and in 2005 and 2006 was named clubman of the year.

Nomads coach Brendan Meehan said the Englishman would be sorely missed.

“Ron’s been terrific for the club and always lifted the mood when he’s been around,” he said.

“You can’t replace blokes like him. He’s one of a kind.”

This Saturday, New England travel to Muswellbrook to take on the winless Cats.

Although Muswellbrook forfeited their match to Inverell on the weekend, the Cats are expected to field a team at home.

For a full preview, make sure you get a copy of The Armidale Express on Friday.

Not for reproduction except by permission of the Armidale Express

Round 4 2010

Nomads def. Bulldogs
 GBP GBP
Q14428 2113
HT6844 3927
Q361450 41135
FT91872 41640

Team:

  • A. Baillie,
  • C. Ballagh,
  • M. Bourke,
  • D. Brown,
  • M. Clayton,
  • R. Crump,
  • M. Dowdle,
  • D. Dunlop,
  • J. Frost,
  • J. Harland,
  • M. Maxwell,
  • L. McLeod,
  • C. Murray,
  • G. Nelson,
  • H. Pearce,
  • O. Temoso,
  • G. Wagstaff,
  • A. Walsh,
  • T. Walsh,
  • W. Whitby,
  • J. Wright.

Goalscorers:

  • W. Whitby (4),
  • M. Maxwell (2),
  • H. Pearce,
  • J. Frost,
  • T. Walsh.

Award winners:

  • H. Pearce (Players' Player),
  • C. Murray (Coach's),
  • J. Harland (President's),
  • C. Ballagh (Captain's),
  • G. Wagstaff (VC's),
  • J. Frost (Red Rooster).

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