Centenary Exhibition Sports Day
Sport has always played a significant role at Mentone Grammar. some would say it even defined the student, even some decades. So, in celebration of 100 years of great sporting camaraderie, sports lovers old and new enjoyed a return to ‘Keysey’ for our Centenary Exhibition Sports Day on Saturday 1 April 2023.
With over 300 players and spectators in attendance, there was a tangible feeling of excitement as the coins were tossed and play got under way. There was a bit to prove. Legends of old versus today’s young guns. The Mentonians teams, largely fit and only recently ‘retired’, took on the School’s top performing Firsts teams in cricket, hockey, soccer, tennis, and touch football matches. The Mentonians players were provided with a special Centenary gift of a Mentonians top to wear, whilst the Firsts teams wore their school sports gear. We were delighted to have past staff member and legendary cricket coach, John Mason, toss the coin for the cricket match. With family members, fellow Mentonians and staff all cheering on, every player showed great determination, teamwork, and Mentone spirit. We even saw Deputy Principal, Jarrod O’Neill and teaching staff out on the Shane Warne Oval and proving wily in the field. Thank you to OMCC stalwarts Darryl Stevens, Tim Litchfield and Mark Phillips for their fine efforts, however, the current Firsts team went on to win by two runs. The good news is that all hamstrings remained intact.
Josh Burt, icon of the Mentone Hockey Club, tossed the coin for the mixed Hockey match, which saw the Mentonians retain their fierce reputation, winning 3 -1 on the day.
Although touch football is a relatively new sport in the context of Mentone Grammar sporting history, our girls have made it their own, winning seven premierships in seven years. There was no doubt that this ‘exhibition’ match was played at the highest level, packed with elite premiership champions. Thanks to Julie James – Head of Greenways campus for tossing the coin. Our Mentonians champs won out in the end, 8 -4 in a fantastic exhibition of the sport.
The tennis courts were buzzing with mixed doubles matches played at a very enthusiastic, high level. It was a battle of youth versus experience, and it was the Mentonians who eventually prevailed, winning 35 games to 28. Thanks to Heads of Campus for tossing the coin and supporting the teams.
Soccer is a passionate game and both the Mentonians and the Firsts brought it to the pitch. If the match is anything to go by, this year’s season will be a big one for our Firsts, they won convincingly, 5-1, in a hard-fought battle, played with great spirit.
There was plenty of complimentary hot food and coffee on hand with Mentonian Greg Holledge (Class of 1976) on the BBQ and a dedicated team of S.M.A.R.T. catering students, led by Mentonian Lachlan Howard (Class of 2020). The egg and bacon rolls were a favourite.
During morning tea in the clubhouse, Brenton Sanderson, Director of Sport, and Georgia Ahern (Class of 2011) Secretary of The Mentonians Association (and Communications Lead at the AFL) announced the final scores and awarded the Most Valuable Player for each sport, along with Centenary Medallions as a memento of the day. Principal, Mal Cater acknowledged the generations of Mentonians and community members who joined us to share in this occasion, including John Kerr from the Class of 1958, who had the honour of being our most ‘senior’ Mentonian in attendance.
We are grateful to everyone who organised, supported and officiated at this fun event, including James Commerford (Class of 2022), the School’s Advancement Team and the Sports Department of Brenton Sanderson, Monica Clarke and James Houghton. We are indebted to the dedicated staff at Keysborough, Tom Donnell, Wayne Fuller and the team who skillfully prepared the grounds and cricket wicket in readiness for the day (but not quite to the advantage of the Mentonians bowlers). Congratulations to all players who provided a heartwarming spectacle and memories to share.
It is clear to see that sport is still an indelible part of our School’s DNA, and we look forward to another 100 years of sporting highlights