Naturals go top as PAFL second half starts
After the excitement of hosting the Stumptown Throwdown, it was back to the local league this past Sunday for the Portland Steelheads as the Power and Naturals clashed in Round 6 of the PAFL. In another tight game, the Naturals pulled away in the fourth quarter to take the win and top the table in the PAFL standings.
Despite having more of the ball in the first quarter, the Power could only pull out a two-point lead. The primary stars of the game shone from the first quarter, as the Naturals’ Martin “Marto” Coventry and the Power’s Pete Mercouriou drove their respective sides from the midfield.
With the Portland summer heat becoming a factor combined with the full-size field and 12-a-side lineups, it was decided by the captains and umpire after the first quarter to shorten up to 15-minute quarters. Even with a shorter game, the action continued, as the Power’s Kyle Easton and Peter “Pele” Blundell continued with goals and Coventry and Jason Snider scored for the Naturals. The Naturals had a greater share of the ball in the second quarter, but the contest remained a two-point game at halftime.
Into the second half, conditioning became a problem for both sides. 80-plus degree temperatures plus the large Northgate park field and small teams added up to weary legs. The Naturals were growing in stature throughout, earning even more of the ball in the third quarter as Coventry and Nathan Weinstock made their presence felt in the midfield, Matt Varner continued to grow as a player taking marks and improving in the forward line, and Jason Snider continued to kick goals. The Power remained resolute, though — Blundell and Mercouriou pushed their team forward, Tyler Cox did excellent to contain Coventry and ruckman Rylan Phillips continued to win contests and take marks in the midfield. At the end of three quarters, the Power still retained a two-point lead.
The wheels fell off for the Power in the fourth, though. The Power were held scoreless in the quarter while the Naturals fired nine shots on target, resulting in four goals and five behinds to seal the win by 27 points. Coventry dominated the midfield in the final quarter, and the stout Power backline succumbed to the pressure.
As the second half of the PAFL season begins it will be hard to catch Will Sandman and Martin Coventry’s Naturals squad, who have only lost once all season and top the table. The Power will hope to bounce back in the next PAFL Metro game on July 24 when they meet the Brewers once more.
1st Quarter – Naturals 2.2.14 v Power 2.4.16
2nd Quarter – Naturals 5.3.33 v Power 5.5.35
3rd Quarter – Naturals 7.4.46 v Power 7.6.48
Final – Naturals 11.9.75 v Power 7.6.48
Jason Snider 4, Martin Coventry 3, James Beggs 1, Benjamin Ratcliff 1, Matt Varner 1, Nathan Weinstock 1
Peter Blundell 3, Kyle Easton 2, Doug Bonham 1, Pete Mercouriou 1
Naturals Best on Ground
Martin Coventry, Matt Varner, Jason Snider, Nathan Weinstock, Lamar Adams
Power Best on Ground
Peter Mercouriou, Peter “Pele” Blundell, Kyle Easton, Rylan Phillips, Tyler Cox