A large contingent of Shepparton Gators teams contested the Bendigo Junior Classic during the Australia Day weekend.
While none of the five junior Gators squads came away with an overall victory, all engineered solid campaigns.
The under-12 division two Gators made it all the way to the C-grade grand final before coming up against a red-hot Bacchus Marsh side to finish second.
Neville Thorn’s charges managed to win every pool match before fighting their way into the decider, which Bacchus Marsh took comfortably.
But a huge achievement was secured by Angus Williams, who was named most valuable player in the final in a losing side.
The under-14 division one girls and under-18 division one boys each played well enough to reach a semi-final before being knocked out of the tournament.
Cameron Hardy’s boys won three of their four pool matches before coming up against eventual champions Bendigo.
The host side had dominated their section, with the closest winning margin a whopping 19 points.
But the Gators fought hard to limit Bendigo’s scoring opportunities, and trailed by just a solitary point at half time.
The ball just would not drop in the second half though, with the home side taking a seven-point victory in the end.
Jason Bannerman’s girls had the same record in the pool matches, winning three games to finish second.
The placing pitted the Gators against arch-rivals Wodonga in the semi-final, but the girls were unable to progress to the decider.
In the under-14 boys division one tournament, the Gators faced tough competition throughout.
Dylan Wayman’s side showed plenty of promise in patches, but struggled to compete for the entire game in most fixtures.
A draw in their last fixture saw renewed hope and a quarter-final berth for the Gators, but Warrnambool proved too consistent to overcome.
The division two under-16 boys faced a similarly tough section, but after drawing their first clash against Myrtleford 28-all battled well in their next two matches.
A knockout fixture against eventual overall winner Ararat highlighted how competitive Charles Moffat’s Gators were, losing by just eight points.