Xavier hangs on for close shield win

Xavier High has claimed back-to-back honours in the Ross Henshaw Shield with a thrilling two-point win over Albury High at Lavington last night.

In freezing conditions, the football was well and truly hot as the two Border high schools played out a cracking contest that wasn’t over until the final siren rang.

Despite trailing all game, Albury never went away and kicked the final three goals of the match to come within as close as a point with just minutes to play. But Xavier did enough to hang on.

Coach Mark Sanson, who will take the team to Sydney to compete in the state final next month, was proud of his team’s grit and labelled the clash one of the best games of school football he’d seen.

“It was an outstanding game of footy,” Sanson said.

“As far as a spectacle, you couldn’t have asked for much more.

“Both teams were right in it and it was tough and hard.”

The win was thanks largely to young defender Pat Starr who was named man of the match.

Starr stood tall, particularly when the game was in the balance as key Albury forward James Wilson, his team’s best player, continually sent the ball inside 50.

Albury was the better side for most of the last quarter, and gained an unexpected advantage when Matt Munro, Xavier’s best player until then, was sent from the ground for using abusive language.

Meanwhile, in the curtain raiser, Xavier was too strong for Murray High.

Xavier won by 106 points, with Harry Nunn and Ben Lloyd both kicking six goals in the victory. Nunn was named best on ground.

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